When I set my mind on something, I don’t back down easily. I have made it my goal to land an internship this summer in the Twin Cities. I am currently a Business Marketing major at St. Thomas who is involved on campus, has on campus jobs, volunteer experience, and prior internship experience. When a person looks at my resume, I like to show them that I am a well-rounded person who is a hard worker and passionate about what I do. One of the most challenging aspects about being a sophomore in the internship process is your application is often times weeded out by older candidates even though experience and personality of the two candidates may be relatively comparable. In the end, I applied to 17 internships. All of these internships I found from all the St. Thomas job and internship posting page. This is a valuable resource that allows employers to contact directly with St. Thomas students, be sure to take advantage of this website!!!
I didn’t know too much about the job and internship process prior to starting my search, but let me tell you, I have learned a lot in the past couple of weeks.
What I learned/ Tips:
1.) Don’t get too stressed out in the beginning. When I first started my search, there was literally only one internship that I could apply to. I honestly didn’t realize so many more would open up. New postings are listed each day. Keep checking the St. Thomas job and internship postings on a regular basis.
2.) Have your resume cleaned up and polished before you begin the process. The Career Development Center on campus does an excellent job of looking over your resume and helping revise areas which may need additional work.
3.) Have a template developed for your cover letter, emails and thank you notes/emails to employers. This will save you time in the long run.
4.) Practice interviewing. The Career Development Center also will do practice interviews with you. Practice truly does help, because you want to feel comfortable and prepared when going into interviews.
5.) Brush up on your etiquette skills. When contacting business professionals, you cannot email or call in the same mannerism that you do with your friends. I researched the proper way to communicate companies, and even learned important tips for phone etiquette and simple things such as arriving early, proper handshakes and the right amount of “small talk.”
6.) Be organized. I learned that it worked best to keep a master document listing all the companies and positions I was applying for. Under each of the companies I had a basic timeline of my communication which each of these companies. This helped me keep straight if I had heard back from companies, as well as giving me an idea if I needed to do any additional follow ups. It’s also a good idea to have a document for each company you are applying to. Within that document I had the company’s name, the position I was applying to, the contact I have been talking to, research on the company, questions I had for the company and any additional thoughts or notes from my interactions with this company.
7.) Research. You will need to research the companies before hand. It looks bad to go into a phone interview or interview and know absolutely nothing about the company you are applying to.
8.) The STAR format. When asked to tell about a situation in the past, I found that it was helpful to answer the question using this format. State the SITUATION. Talk about the TASK. ACTION of what you did. Finally, talk about the RESULT. Employers were impressed with my ability to fully answer questions which were backed up by examples.
9.) First impressions are important. You will never get the chance of a first impression again. The first thing that a company sees about you, even before you say a word, is how you are dressed. You need to dress professional. This is simple enough, but you may also want to look up the proper way to dress up, such as tie length, or for girls what business clothes actually are (and no, your favorite pair of black leggings doesn’t count). I learned that it was key to buy basic business pieces such as a black blazer, black dress pants and black flats that I could mix and match with pieces I already owned. Also prior to the interview process, I got my hair cut and brushed up on makeup skills.
10.) Gratitude. In the end, if you don’t end up landing an internship, be grateful for all that you learned along the way. These are skills that you will use for your entire life, and think of this just as more practice.