This is a guest post by Jeff Anderson. Find out more about him in the author bio below this post.
I am a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Like many seniors, I spent the end of junior year stressing about finding an internship for the summer. Thankfully all of my work paid off – I found an internship and learned a few valuable lessons about job-hunting that I’d now like to share with you.
1. Take Off Your Major ‘Blinders’
Don’t focus on internships solely in your field of study. As a business accounting major I initially sought job opportunities at accounting firms, which was very limiting. When I finally took my accounting ‘blinders’ off, I landed an internship at FindTheBest, where I worked on business development in the education and auto departments. Though the role didn’t involve much accounting, I interacted with the CEO and absorbed valuable lessons from his leadership skills; I also worked within teams, gained knowledge in web analytics and developed new skills in sales & marketing. Had I not expanded my search, I never would have had this incredible learning experience.
2. Think Small
Check out small organizations, start-ups and non-profits. These types of companies give prospective interns:
- An opportunity to explore more facets of a workplace
- A diverse skill-set which comes from interaction with various departments
- Exposure to high-level executives and leaders (like my experience at FindTheBest)
- A full-time gig. (Smaller organizations and non-profits are especially selective about hiring. They are more likely to higher candidates they know and trust, like vetted intern)
3. Show Up Prepared
Being prepared will impress your interviewer, so consider these hints:
- Come with questions about the company
- Familiarize yourself with basic products and services the company provides
- Dress appropriately (check out the first impression post for some great clothing tips)
- Show up 15 minutes early
- Be prepared to talk about your hobbies and other interests – it shows personality.
4. Remember Your Manners
Write a ‘thank you’ note! Your note should be 3-5 sentences:
- The first sentence should be unique or attention grabbing, like a quote
- The second sentence should include something memorable about you, or your discussion, that will jog the interviewer’s memory – Remember that your interviewer could be meeting hundreds of candidates
- The fourth sentence should be something creative and insightful, like an idea you think would enhance the company or department to which you’re applying.
- The fifth sentence should thank the interviewer, again, for his or her time
5. Don’t Give Up
Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get an offer. Remember there are many companies out there that would love to hire you as an intern! Even if you don’t get the internship you thought you wanted, keep searching – you may find one better suited for you…and have one of the best summers of your life!