Internship Tips

Cicely Nguyen, Reporter

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Now that summer is here, it is about that time to start looking for internships for the fall semester, or just in general. Whether your degree program requires you to have it or not, internships are a great way to get that real-life experience most jobs are seeking when finding new applicants. A lot of times, internship positions can turn into a full-time position once a student graduates. It’s an effective way to get your foot in the door and boost your resume. But applying for internship positions is nothing like getting a job as a server at a restaurant or getting work study credit hours at school. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when looking for internship positions.

First of all, make sure your resume is detailed but not excessively detailed. When applying for an internship at a law firm, they really don’t need to know that you worked at McDonald’s when you were 16. Keep the information relevant to what the employer would find valuable. Your resume should reflect the skills you have in that field.

When it comes to resumes, it can also be helpful to keep skills and core competencies at the top. Make it an easy find for an employer. This would include things like “SEO, Marketing and Communications, Strategic Business Planning.” Don’t get this confused with traits like being a people person or learning quickly. Characteristics and skills are two different things. You can show an employer you’re a people person in a 30 minute interview (if you get one) but you cannot effectively express your skills in corporate communications in that amount of time.

You also do not want to “primp” your resume. Keep the formatting and template simple. The information on the resume is what will interest the employer, not the designs.

It is also smart to include numbers wherever you can. It gives the employer a more concrete idea of your work. For example, if you trained other employees at a job, don’t just put “Trained employees,” say “Trained 3 employees per week.” Now, they’ll know how much experience you have in working and leading others.

Your resume is perfect, you sent it to an employer and they want to schedule an interview! Now what?

First of all, make sure your outfit is right. Of course, you shouldn’t spend too much time picking out an outfit but again, keep it simple and professional. First impressions are very important for a job or internship. For girls, don’t put on a bunch of makeup like you’re going out for drinks or on a date. In a professional setting, you want to make it clear you’re focused on your work, not your contour. Keep “business casual” in mind as

a rule of thumb. Men should stick with slacks and a dress shirt. Ladies, nothing too tight or revealing, just dress pants and a blouse should be fine.

Always do research on the place before you go into the interview. This should be obvious, but know where you’re interviewing at. Nothing is more embarrassing than selling yourself as a great calculus teacher when you’re interviewing for an accountant position. Plus, employers often ask “Have you looked into what we do here?” You definitely don’t want to respond with a “no” for that question.

Along with doing research on the place you’re interviewing at, research interview questions that correlate with that field. You can easily find those on the internet. That way you have an idea of what you might be asked so you aren’t caught off guard during the interview. Again, nothing could possibly be more embarrassing than saying “Ummm..I’m not sure” during an internship interview.

Typically, at the end, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Try to have questions! This is definitely not a deal-breaker with most employers but it is just a really easy way to show your interest in the position. Refrain from asking about pay. Chances are, the initial position ad mentioned if it was paid or not and you can reference that. Personally, I always ask something like “What would you say is your ideal candidate?”

Even though they may have it already from when you first applied, bring your resume and sample work if possible. It just shows you are prepared and sometimes, the person who initially looked over your resume isn’t the same person interviewing you.

Also make sure to sell yourself. Don’t sound too cocky but be confident. You don’t want to look unsure during the interview because chances are, they can find someone who is sure elsewhere. Even if you realize later that maybe you aren’t fit for the position, it’s always better to look and be confident regardless.

Never forget to thank them. That’s just basic manners. Thank them for their time, thank them for considering you, thank them for informing you on their business, just thank them.

Now they told you they’d let you know in a few days and it’s been a week. Don’t automatically sell yourself short and think they decided not to hire you. A lot of times, employers are just busy. It’s completely fine to reach out yourself. In fact in many cases, it’s good. It shows you’re still interested in the position and that you take initiative. According to, most HR managers prefer to be reached by email so

stick with that. Also, make it short. Include your name, the position you applied for, when you interviewed, a thank you, a request for a call back, and your phone number. Chances are, they know exactly why you’re calling the second your name pops up so there is no need to go into great detail and recap the interview.

You got ahold of them and you got the internship! Oftentimes, employers give you a couple days to think it over to make sure you want the position. If you’re following up, that might be unnecessary (because who follows up on a position they don’t want). If you feel like you do want to think it over, definitely do it. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere you don’t see fit and they certainly wouldn’t want someone working with them that couldn’t/didn’t want to do the job.

Let’s say you decided you didn’t want to take the internship. How do you politely but professionally tell the employer you chose a different route? First, you want to be as timely as possible. Right when you make your decision, call or email them. They will have to hire someone in your place so letting them know as soon as possible is just courteous. Of course, you want to be polite and concise. Make sure they know how grateful you are that you got the opportunity but maybe a different position aligned with your career goals more. Don’t go into detail about the other position (if there is one) and wish them luck on their continued success.

While nearing the end of your college career, it is important to have experience as well as education help you achieve your goals. Conducting yourself politely and professionally in the work setting is crucial when job/internship seeking. Follow these tips/process to land the perfect position for you!

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Student newspaper of Park University
Internship Tips