End Your Summer Internship With a Bang

End Your Summer Internship With a Bang

Don’t just show up for the last day cake and cookies, end your summer internship with a bang. No matter if you are going out to join the working world, or back to school, ending your internship strongly can help you land more internships or a job when you graduate.

How does ending with a bang help you get a future job? Doing the few simple actions outlined below can show your manager that you know how to finish strong. Even if you started off shaky, finishing strong is a way to demonstrate professional maturity, gratitude for the internship and a desire to work for the company.

1. Secure Contact Information

Before your internship is over, start the process of transfering email addresses and phone numbers to your personal email account. You will likely lose access to your employer provided email a few days after your intenrship is over. If all of the contacts that you want are stuck in that email, you will have lost them. Make sure your personal email address is a simple one that allows people to easily identify you. You may need to get a reference or recommendation from one of them in the future.

2. Set up a LinkedIn Profile

Another way to keep in contact is through LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, make one before your internship is over. Once you have your profile, start asking your colleagues if you can connect with them on Linkedin. For many profesionals, LinkedIn is the preferred method of staying connected. Many companies turn to LinkedIn to post internships, jobs and review resumes.

3. Update Your Resume and Portfolio

While the projects are still fresh in your mind, start updating your resume. When your internship is over, you can add more info to your resume. This is also your chance to make sure you secure any physical or electronic copies of projects that you worked on. Make sure that if there is any sensative information that you worked on that you receive the proper authorization. While you are updating your resume, update your LinkedIn profile to match. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready when opportunity arises.

4. Send Handwritten Thank-You Notes


Buy a box of thank-you cards and write handwritten notes to your co-workers and supervisors. Sending an email, a tweet or text is not how you leave a lasting impression. Not likley that the other interns will make the same effort.Who doesn’t like getting handwritten notes?

5. Ask About Upcoming Opportunities

If you are graduating, let your manager know that you are interested in any full-time openings they have. They may not have any openings, but things change all the time. If your manager knows that you are interested in working for the company, when something comes up you may get the call. In the event you are returning to school, you can ask about continuning your internship through the fall, even remotely depending on the job.

Between ungrad and grad school I did eight internships. Each internship left me with a unique experience and perspective. Reflect on your internship not just in regards to the projects for your portfolio, but how you grew as a person. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about what you value in a future employer? Did you hate being in an office all day? The internship experience is a unique peak into life after college. Take advantage of the opportunity and learn from it.


Why Recent College Grads Should Consider Post Grad Internships

Why Recent College Grads Should Consider Post Grad Internships

Updated Dec 5, 2020

There are a number of reasons why recent college grads should consider post grad internships. In a perfect world, you bang out your final exams, graduate, maybe move to a new city, set up your new apartment and start your career at a well-paying job the week after graduation. Well, that idea has been thrown out the window – thanks COVID! For a lot people, post grad internships while we recover from COVID-19 might be the best short-term solution.

An 8-12 week post graduation internship might be a better alternative to taking any unfulfilling full-time job. The best scenario is a paid internship of course, however, if you find a flexible full-time job, you could still intern for 15-20 hours per week at the same time. Overall, the additional internship experience buys you time while you build your resume, look for a job and wait for the economy to bounce back. Doing an internship after college does not mean you’ve given up!

“75 percent of employers report that the primary focus of their internship program was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions.” 

1. Employers like to hire previous interns

According to a recent National Assocation of  Colleges and Employers Survey, 75 percent of employers report that the primary focus of their internship program was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions. For employers, the opportunity to work with an intern for a few months is the best way to observe if that person will be a good fit with the company long-term.

For you, internships let you determine if you want to work for the company or in that field. Getting invovled, working on projects and contributing to an employer through an intership is your best chance at showing them why they need to hire you.  Be the exceptional intern and you could go from intern to employee before the internship is over.

2. Post grad internships can give you work experience

Post grad internships give you additional work experience. Work experience is the #1 thing employers look for in a new hires. Maybe you’ve heard people say, “how am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me“, the answer is internships. Employers like to see internship experience because it shows that you have had a chance to apply your classroom knowledge in a real world setting. The classroom, your grade point average and the college you attended can only take you so far. You need to be able to show that you can contribute on the job and learn quickly. Use your internship to gain or improve new hard and soft skills which will make you more marketable.

Consider that in this post COVID-19 world, there are industries that have flondered and others that have flourished.  A post grad internship could be the way to enter a different industry that you hadn’t thought of.

3. You’re not excited about your major

When you started your college career you may have been all gung-ho about your major. Somewhere along the way you just lost the excitement you once had. An internship in the field could confirm that you really don’t like it or remind you of why you were excited before. The good/bad thing about an internship is that it is for a set period of time. At the end of 8-12 weeks, if you find that you actually do hate the field, your co-workers or the company, you can leave with no strings attached.

I did eight internships in college. As a public relations major I did internships in business, sales, marketing, public affairs and public relations, in different sectors for companies and organizations of varying sizes. What I learned about myself, the workplace, and the skills I needed for each profession was invaluable! Getting beyond your major could be an eye opening experience for you.

4. Build Your Network

post grad internsNetworking is a major component to finding a job. Some surveys say that up to 85% of people find their jobs though networking. Your network might be bigger than you think when you stop to consider friends, family, fraternity or sorority connections, the university alumni network, religious affiliations and professional organizations. However large or small your network, spending time at an internship provides the opportunity to expand your network.

I recommend doing multiple informational interviews while at your internship to learn about different positions as well as the people in those roles. Networking opportunities can also lead to you meeting and connecting with mentors. Mentors are an incredible resource and you should make an effort to establish a relationships with someone who can be a mentor. The guidance of a mentor could help you clarify where you want to work and what you want to do.

5. Graduate school is expensive

I took two years off between my undergradate and graduate degrees. I thought I knew what I wanted. As graduation grew closer, I only seemed to get more confused about location, law school, grad school, b-school or going straight into the workforce. I returned home to Rochester, NY and landed my first full-time job in college admissions. That two years of work experience helped me gain clarity on my professional and academic goals, pay down some student loan debt and save money for moving to Maryland for graduate school.

In turn, the work experience I gained made getting a graduate assistantship (GA) an easier path for me. I was a GA in the Office of Student Affairs. As a graduate Assistant, my tuition was 100% covered the university in exchange for 15-20 hours of work per week.  In addition to my tuition being covered, I was paid $12,000 per year. My graduate assistantship (similar to an internship) allowed me to continue to build my resume, get involved on campus and helped clarify my professional goals. It also saved me about  $25,000.

6. Where to find post grad internships

So if you’ve established that a post grad internship might be a good idea, what’s next. There are some companies that have been doing post grad internships for years.

Those are just a few companies offering post grad internships. Check sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster and other job search engines. Also, subscribe to my Diversity Internship Directory, a comprehensive listing of companies looking for diverse interns and new hires. Depending in the industry,  it migh be easier post COVID-19 to find an internship over a full-time job.

7. You can perfect your job searching skills

If you can master the internship search process, you will be better at searching for a job. For either purpose, job or internship, you need to put together a well-crafted resume and cover letter. Putting together a superstar level LinkedIn profile is also a necessity in todays competitive work environment. If you have never been on a professional job interview, interviewing for internships can help you gain confidence in your interviewing skills.

Deciding to do an internship post-grad doesn’t mean you just apply for everything you see and hope for the best. Develop a strategy and understand what type of internship you are looking for. What skills do you want to enhance or learn? Is there a particular industry or company you want to work for? Just like your job search, your internship should be focused too. My free Internship and Job Tracker walks you through the steps of getting your internship game plan together.

The key to success is to be proactive. Get your resume together, apply, network, learn new skills, practice interviewing and do an internship. Evaluate what you want and see if it is in line with the skills you bring to the table. It may not happen overnight, but you will breakthrough.

If an internship is not your choice, then jump into your first post graduation job, make a few dollars and understand that it is only the beginning!

March Madness Internship Style

March Madness is here. The University of Maryland Baltimore County and University at Buffalo have busted everyone’s brackets, but I’m not talking about the frenzy, excitement and chase for the NCAA Championship. I’m talking about the frenzied, worried and anxious college students trying to get plans in order for the summer. March Madness internship style.

Maybe you have been a little distracted with college basketball and spring break plans, but it’s time to focus on the future for a moment. Many companies are in the midst of interviewing candidates to fill their summer internship openings. While some companies are all done, there are still many internship opportunities to be found, and they are looking for you.

Develop a Game Plan

Everytime there is a new opponent, coaches draw up a new game plan. The game plan is your road map to victory. To develop an effective game plan or strategy, coaches scout out the best players on the other team, define the team strengths and weaknesses of the opponents while also understanding the stregth and weaknsses of thier own team, and determine what style of defense and offense will be most effective.

Well, what are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you want to learn at an internship? Are you only looking for an internship close to home or are you able to spend the summer in a different city? Are you doing an internship for academic credit? Are you looking for an internship in your major or trying to learn something new? Answer these questions up front, and your internship search will be more focused. My free guide, The Internship Manual Toolkit, walks you through the steps of getting an internship game plan together.

Practice Makes Perfect

Just like every team in the tourny has been practicing for months to make it to the big dance, you need to start practice too. A long, long time ago when I played ball, my coach would often say, “you play how you practice”. What type of practice is involved in looking for an internship though right? Well, your interview for starters.

Many career services offices offer mock interviews as a way to give you the chance to do an interview without any pressure. Generally, at the conclusion of your mock interview you will get feedback on how you did and what to improve. This is something you need to jump on. Even if you’ve had an interview before, never hurts to get feedback and continue to improve on your interview skills.

Know What’s in the Playbook

Each player gets a playbook that contains all of the plays the team runs regularly. You need to put together your playbook and study it. Your playbook has your resume and cover letter as well as your online portfolio if you have one. These are essential elements to your success. Study them and learn about them. Learn how to create a resume and write and edit a cover letter, good ones.

Other parts of your playbook include online resouces. You should have a professional LinkedIn profile. Also, you should consider developing a personal website for use as a portfolio. Developing a personal website gives you the chance to create the narrative because you can control what is there.

Be Game Ready When Your Number is Called

Every player sitting on the bench knows that when they coach calls their number, they need to be ready to get in the game and perform. If you practice your interviews, you will feel more prepared to meet the challenge when the call comes.

You also need to have your “uniform” ready when you get called too. Professional interview attire. For men, a dark colored suit or dress pants, button down collared shirt, neck tie and dress shoes. For young ladies, a suit (pants or skirt), dress shirt, and a pair of pumps. For a complete guide on what to wear read How to Dress for a Job Interview. If you don’t have money to go buy new clothes, there are plenty of thrift shops with great deals on what you need.

What should you be doing now

If you a haven’t started, the first step is to get started. Here are 5 Ways to Find an Internship for some methods you can implement today to kickstart your search. Also, check out my site, The Internship Manual for current internship openings across the country. If you don’t take any action, you result might just be another summer spent in job you hate, not making money and not building skills. Getting an internship is not just about occupying your summer hours, it is about career prepatation.

Companies want to hire graduates who can bring something to the table. A degree alone is not enough. To stand out and make yourself desireable to employers, you need to show that you can operate outside of the classroom and you do that, through internships.

The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Internship of Your Dreams needs to be your playbook. It’s March Madness. Get the book and go internship crazy!

Phone Interview Success in Five Steps

Phone Interview Success in Five Steps

Phone interviews. You can have phone interview success in five simple steps. I’ve been interviewed via phone and I’ve done probably 1,000+ phone interviews of candidates for internships and jobs. For many candidates, the road to employment starts with a phone interview. Make a bad first impression, and you probably won’t get to the next round.

Often the first phone interview is with a member of the human resources staff, manager, an employee that is a part of the team you would be working on, or a few members from a hiring committee. These interviews are intended to be quick, usually 15-20 minutes as a way to determine if you are promising enough as a candidate to get another interview, usually in-person.

Prepare for Your Phone Interview

You should prepare for your phone interview just as you would an interview in-person. Do your research about the company on Google as well as on the company website. Re-read the job description and if possible research the people who will be interviewing you. LinkedIn can be a valuable source if you can’t find much on the company website. Also, follow the company on social media. You can learn quickly about how they communicate with their customers and other company news they may share.

Review lists you can find online, or from your university career services office of commonly asked interview questions, and practice your answers. Be well aware of the information on your own resume, how to share your experiences and demonstrate how you are fit for the role. If you are feeling especially nervous, ask a career counselor in career services if you can do a mock phone interview.

Know Where You Will Be Before Your Confirm

Don’t schedule your interview during a time when you are commuting on the train or bus, in class or at work. There could be situations that come up and you may not be able to sneak out as you expect. Schedule your interview at a time you know you will be in a quiet location with a strong cell phone signal. If you have a landline, that would be the better option to ensure the call does not drop.

If you have a roommate or family members that are usually home at the time of your interview, let them know a few days in advance that you will be on an interview, and remind them the day of as well. Be sure you are the person that answers the phone. In the event you have pets, put them in a place where they can’t interrupt your call. No television, no music and no eating.

Dress for the Interview

Ok, so this might seem a little strange but go ahead and dress professionally for the interview. You are reading this and saying, “but they can’t see me”. Yes, I know, but follow me for a moment. When you are dressed a certain way it can impact how you might feel and respond. For most people, putting on a suit or dressing professionally can create feelings of professionalism and confidence. No one will know either way if you do or don’t, but I think it is a good rule to follow. If you choose to stay in your pj’s, get out of bed, sit up straight in your chair or stand. Your posture effects your voice.

Bring your smile. Again you are saying, “they can’t see me”. I know, but they can hear you. People can hear your smile! Smiling makes you sound more upbeat and enthusiastic.

Ask Good Questions

I really don’t like when we get to the end of the conversation and the candidate has no questions. Even one is better than none. You don’t need a list of 10 questions but aim for 3-5 good questions. They can be about the interviewers, the company or the position. Questions like:

  1. What characteristics do you think a person needs to be successful in this position?
  2. How many interns have you hired for full-time positions in recent years?
  3. Can you give me an idea of what a typical day would be like for this position?

Avoid questions that will get you a simple yes or no answer. Ask questions that will give you the information you need to help determine if the position and company are a good fit for you.

Before You Go

Before you hang up the phone, ask the interviewer for their email address (if you don’t have it). It is important that you follow up within 24 hours of the interview to say thank you. The follow-up email gives you the chance to say thank-you, but also to reaffirm your interest in the company and the position. If you want to stand out more, you can drop a hand written thank you card in the mail.

Phone interviews don’t have to be intimidating, but don’t take them too lightly because your interviewer(s) can’t see you. That is all the more reason to be on top of your game.


3 Things That Internship Hiring Managers Love

3 Things That Internship Hiring Managers Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In celebration of the day of love, I am going to share 3 things that internship hiring managers love. If you are looking for an internship, here are a few things that might just make a prospective employer fall in love with you. Whenever a prospective intern does these things, I say to myself, “they get it” meaning, they get what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

First impressions

It starts with your resume. I love getting a clean, fresh, error free one-page resume from internship applicants. That is  the first sign that the prospective intern took time to learn how to put together a good resume. They understand that it is the first and sometimes only representation they have. If that resume is bad, then the prospects of moving forward to an interview are slim to none. Take the time to visit career services or Google search how to write a resume to learn the anatomy of a good resume, that will get you results.

Ask Questions

Over my career I have done a lot of candidate interviews. Very few candidates ask questions of me when I say, “do you have any questions?” Now, asking me something is better than not asking me anything. What I love, however,  is when a prospective candidate asks me good, thoughtful, researched questions. Questions that indicate that the candidate researched the opportunity, is excited about the job and wants to genuinely learn more.

On the flip side, this is also your chance as a candidate to evaluate if the opportunity is really a good fit. You can ask about culture, position responsibilities, interview process, ask who you will report to. You don’t need a list of 10 questions, that would get a little annoying, but a list of 3 -4 solid questions is what I recommend. If you need ideas for questions, Chapter 5: The Interview Process in my book, The Internship Manual provides a list of questions to ask.

Follow Up

The third thing I love is when candidates follow up (not stalk). Sometimes during an interview students will ask for my contact information to follow up with me, and I give it. I love when students go to the website, find my email address and send a thank you note or email. That little step that may take 5 minutes shows me that they are serious about the position, care about building relationships and know that it is important to show that they are hungry for the job.

These 3 things won’t get you the job, you still need to be qualified. But, the first step to getting in can be learning to stand out.