How to Land a Killer Internship

Below are some tips on how you can successfully land a killer internship. This is based on steps I have taken to land 3 different internships including my internship this summer with PepsiCo

Disclaimer: This blog post is focusing on the not so obvious factors that will help you land a killer internship. I do not mention maintaining a high GPA and being involved with clubs.

Freshman Year: Setting yourself up

Take CSE

One of the most important classes I have taken at Ohio State is Computer Science Engineering 2111 (CSE). This class taught me the basics of Microsoft Excel which is CRUCIAL for any internship. Excel is a skill which is required by nearly every company. If you can master this skill you can start any internship and not only look smart but add value. Make sure you take this course freshman year and learn it to the best of your ability.

Network

Although it is hard to land an internship freshman year it is definitely possible. Utilize all your family members and friends to network. Express interest early on that you want an internship for the summer. Many large companies have internship positions for relatives and family friends of employees. My freshman year I interned at Citigroup Inc. through their “Friends and Family Program”.

Become QUIC

In order to land an internship you must be able to nail an interview.  QUIC is a practice interview process Fisher offers. By going through this process you will learn how to approach an interview and appropriately market yourself to interviewers.

Sophomore year: Next Steps

Continue to Network

Once you return from your freshman year summer it’s time to pick up where you left off. Continue to reach out to family and friends and express your interest in obtaining an internship.

Practice Interviewing

Go to the fall career fair and get as many interviews as possible. The best way to land a stellar internship is being exceptional at interviews; the only way to improve is to practice. After the fall career fair send your resume to companies on FisherConnect. Companies usually screen sophomore resumes during second semester for candidates in positions they did not fill. These companies screen resumes in their database for key words. One key word I strongly recommend getting in your resume, if you can, is Pivot Table. This catches recruiter’s eyes. You can get you an interview if you have knowledge and practical experience.

Have an Open Mind

Stay positive and be willing to relocate/take a non-paid internship. I was not called for an interview my sophomore year until the week before spring break. This was after the fact that LBrands (sophomore year Internship Company) screened most of the juniors. With a stroke of luck they started screening for sophomore interns.

A great way to get practical experience if you cannot land a paid internship is with nonprofits. These organizations never have enough resources and you can get some serious exposure interning with one.

Junior Year: Landing the Internship

Hard Goal

Once you return from sophomore year summer it’s time to start grinding. Set a deadline for when you should accept an internship offer; mine was October 31. I sent out my resume to nearly every company on FisherConnect and I did not stop grinding until I landed my internship.

Practice Practice Practice

Really get after it and do as many interviews as possible. Before I had my PepsiCo interview I had gone through 7 interviews with 6 different companies. After each interview I critiqued myself on what I did wrong and which situational questions I could have answered better. Once you hit five interviews you should be a pro and have the highest level of confidence.

In summary, landing a killer internship is in your hands. You can do it if you stay focused, be persistent and don’t give up.

Good luck and happy interning!

 

Sophomores: It’s time to get QUIC!

Let me paint this picture for you….

It’s the day of the Fisher Fall Career Fair, 2015. Your top 3 dream companies, Amazon, L Brands, and Target are all clamoring to speak with you. With your 3.8 GPA, loads of extracurricular involvement, and part-time work experience, any company would be lucky to have you, and to interview you.

But when they inquire about setting up an on-campus interview, you regretfully inform them that you are not ‘QUIC’ and can’t sign up. They frown in disappointment.

Then you say, “It’s okay, you can make an exception for me.

But the recruiter says “Sorry, if you haven’t made the time to spruce up your interviewing skills, we’ll save this spot for other students. Better luck next time.”

Demi_screamDon’t let this happen to you.

Your sophomore year is the perfect time to get QUIC! You have a year of coursework, work experience, and general adulthood under your belt. You have things to talk about now. You can have stimulating, intellectual conversations with adults now. You go, you.

The Office of Career Management recommends conducting your QUIC interview during your sophomore year. How exactly “quick” is QUIC, you ask????

Here, we’ve broken down the QUIC process into 6 simple steps:

STEP 1: Get admitted to your major with the Fisher College of Business.

Applications to a major in Fisher are accepted twice a year by the Undergraduate Programs and Advising Office, September and January, and take up to 3 months to process.

STEP 2: Polish your resume.

There is a lot of good information on resumes on the Office of Career Management website (go to Undergraduate Students and Handouts for the Job Search.) If you would like additional assistance, come to Gerlach 150 and consult with a career coach during walk-in hours, or call (292-6024) to make an appointment with a career consultant. You must bring your final resume to your QUIC interview. Make sure your most current resume is uploaded into FisherConnect.

STEP 3: Register and upload your resume on FisherConnect.

Go to Fisher Career Management website and click on FisherConnect on the left side menu.Go to the Student Login section. Log in using your OSU name.# and your first-time password is your birth month/year (for example, if you were born in July of 1993, your password would be 071993). You may change your Password later, at any time, in your profile.Complete the registration profile and upload your resume. IT IS IMPORTANT TO COMPLETE THIS STEP BEFORE GOING TO STEP #4.

STEP 4: Complete the online modules on CARMEN.

On CARMEN, under “My Courses” under “Special, Business Administration”, click on Career Management: QUIC Modules. There are 5 modules with a quiz at the end of each. When you have completed all five modules [which will take one hour, on average, to complete,] you will have a better understanding of the services we provide, know how the FisherConnect system works, and understand the FisherConnect policies.

STEP 5: Schedule, Prepare for, and Pass a QUIC interview.

You should be able to sign up for a QUIC interview within two weeks. You will schedule your QUIC interview through FisherConnect. When you sign up for the interview, a company name will be assigned to the schedule. You will be expected to research the company. QUIC interviews will be 1 hour long, and will be conducted by a staff member of the Career Management team. More information on preparing for QUIC interviews is provided in Module 5 on Carmen.

STEP 6: Start using FisherConnect to search for a job or internship!

Resume submission deadlines for on-campus interviews typically end 3 to 4 weeks before the interviews. There is no on-campus recruiting during Summer term. Again, please see the modules for further details on using FisherConnect to your advantage.

Good Luck!

What does it mean to have “clammy” hands?

The first thing I do when coming out to our lobby to get a student for their QUIC interview is offer my hand up for a handshake. “Hi, I’m Audra!”

In business, a handshake can say so many things about you. The handshake needs to be firm (not death-grip firm, but firm) and with confidence and purpose.

One thing that need not be included in your handshake?? Clammy hands.

Clammy hands, also known as sweaty palms, are a common occurrence with interviewees. Their nerves get the best of them, and those nerves can manifest through hand perspiration. But don’t worry – it happens to the best of us!!!

An easy tip? Shortly before your scheduled interview time, simply (but thoroughly) wipe the backs and front of your hands on your pants. It is better to have your nervous perspiration on your own pants than on the recruiter’s hands. For obvious reasons.

What’s your competitive advantage?

I find myself saying the same thing over and over again during the feedback portion of QUIC interviews:

“Well, dear student, all of this information is great. But what sets YOU apart from every other business student in this College? In Ohio? In the country? In the WORLD?!?!?”

Ok, I might not get that dramatic. But I do challenge students to GO BEYOND the typical interview fare and look within themselves to find what makes them great. What in the world are you the best at? What is a quality you have that the next guy/gal in line doesn’t have? What are the qualities that people constantly tell you you possess (even if you don’t always recognize it)?

The truth is, these qualities don’t have to be profound, earth-shattering, or life-changing. You don’t have to rescue babies from runaway trains to possess great time-management and critical thinking skills. But the whole point of an interview is to differentiate yourself from your competition. For example, everyone can claim they are hardworking, but how are YOU hardworking? Do you work 40 hours per week, play intramural soccer, maintain a healthy (and safe) social life, all while maintaining a 3.8 GPA with only 3 cups of coffee per day? My word, you ARE a superhero!

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, can come up with at least three strengths that are unique, valuable, and relatable to your chosen career field. If you are struggling to come up with these qualities, stop in the Office of Career Management and set up an appointment with a career consultant. We can help you find your competitive advantage. Even if we have to drag it out of you.

Notes from the trenches: Self-Awareness

I recently conducted a QUIC interview with a young man who left an interesting impression on me. When I came out to the lobby to collect him for his interview, my first impression of him was the he was standoffish. He had short, one-worded responses, didn’t smile, and overall I couldn’t tell if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed, didn’t eat his Wheaties, or was just a grumpy Gus.

Then the interview began, and this young man’s demeanor completely changed. It was like he secretly slugged a can of Red Bull when my back was turned. He was perky, engaging, interesting, and I was genuinely interested in hearing more about him.

Cue to the end of the interview, and once we were no longer “in character,” Grumpy Gus was back.

Because part of the QUIC interview process is to point out things you might not even realize you do (i.e. saying the word ‘like’, clicking your pen, tapping your fingers on the table), I felt obliged to tell this young man how he came across both before and after the interview, and how it altered my perception of him. He commented back that he’s been told this many times in his life, and I certainly wasn’t the first.

This is an example of self-awareness. For those of you who maybe aren’t aware (haha, the irony), self-awareness, in a nutshell, is the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals. What this means in terms of interviewing is that you have to be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, triggers, and nuances so that you can you can appear in the interview to be a realistic combination of humble and confident. Able but flexible. Assertive not aggressive. Sounds almost possible right? Nah, not really. Just be yourself. Be the best you.

And how do you be the best you? By being self-aware. This is why the QUIC interview process is so helpful. Sometimes we are so focused on giving the right answer that we neglect to give the answer that’s right for us. It’s been proven time and again that the most memorable and successful interview answers are the ones that are genuine. A made-up answer may work sometimes, but it’s more likely to sound fake (because it is) and won’t leave a lasting impression on the recruiter.

For Grumpy Gus,  since he was very well-aware that he could turn on the charm during the interview, I advised him to make sure that he turned on this charm from minute one. As soon as he walks through the door to a company, he has to have the same enthusiasm he showed during the interview itself, and not to turn it back off until he is safely within the confines of his vehicle and away from company property. I was only conducting a mock interview, but if this had been the real deal, I definitely would have reservations about hiring a candidate that seemed grumpy one minute and happy the next. Employers like predictability, and being two completely different personalities in an interview can backfire.

So to all you Grumpy Gus’s, pen clickers, and “Um, like”ers out there – use constructive criticism to your advantage! The candidates who are self-aware are usually the first to take accountability for their actions, can communicate effectively, and overall are considered more likeable, aka hireable.

If you have no idea where you stand on the self-awareness front, just for fun, here is an online test that rates your level of self-awareness in various settings.