Don’t Be Overwhelmed, Simplfy Your Internship Search

Don’t Be Overwhelmed, Simplfy Your Internship Search

In the midst of midterms, clubs and organizations, projects, sports, upcoming breaks and oh yeah–class, even the thought of looking for an internship can be overwhelming. I’m going to help you simplify your internship search.

I definately understand that you have a lot going on – which might even include your fall internship. The reality of the matter is that the summer 2019 internship search season is already underway. Seeing as how it is only October, you are not behind, but I’m trying to keep you from falling behind.

So how do we make the internships search process a little less daunting? Here are a four things you can do to ease your stress.

1. Get Your Resume Ready Before You Start

Before you dive head first into looking for an internship, you need to pause and make sure you have a good resume. You don’t want to find a position you want, only to have to then stop and write a resume. If you don’t know how to write a resume, then it is time to learn how to create this vital piece of your package. Career services is your first stop. 

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A few quick tips about your resume:

  1.  It should only be one-page.
  2.  Ditch the objective in favor of a summary statement. 
  3. Your bullet points should have quantitative results.
  4. Do not include your GPA if it is under 3.0.
  5. Do not use pronouns.

I’ve put together a free resume template to simplify the process for you. The template walks you through the best information to include, and what you can leave out. Download it now and just start to fill in the information.

2. Get Organized for Your Search

Getting and staying organized is a game-changer when it comes to the internship search process. You will likely apply to many internships before you get your dream internship. So, staying organized is important when you consider that your resume could be floating around to multiple openings. You don’t want to get mixed up, get called for an interview and have the wrong information.

My Internship Manual Toolkit  gives you some organizational tools to keep you on track. The Internship Action Sheet and a detailed Internship Search Timeline will help you chart your path and track your progress. By using these worksheets you will be able to easily organize the internships you are applying for. 

 

3. Grow Your Confidence

As you start to apply, you will hopefully start to get calls for interviews. Don’t wait until the call comes, be proactive and start practicing.  Whether by phone, Skype or in person, you need to be interview ready if you are going to land an internship.

Doing mock interviews on campus is a great way to get feedback on what you do well, and what you need to work on. Participating in interviews, practicing answers on your own, researching common interview questions will all begin to boost your confidence as an interviewee.

Read: Phone Interview Success in Five Steps

4. Be Open to Opportunity

I think one of the best things about internships is that they present the opportunity to explore career options before making a long term committment. The value of the eight internships I did in college was not just the work experience added to my resume, but learning how to build relationships, working in various settings and figuring out what skills I needed to develop.

As a public relations major I did internships in marketing, sales and the non-profit sector. Remaining open to opportunities allowed me to see different departments and learn things I wasn’t learning in my communications and public relations classes. So, as you start this process, don’t be afraid to push yourself to explore beyond the box of you major. If you are casting a wide net, it is less stressful because it will be easier to find internships to apply for.

Your next step is to download The Internship Manual Toolkit and Resume Template now! Happy searching!

 

 

Missing the Career Fair Could Mean Missed Opportunity

Missing the Career Fair Could Mean Missed Opportunity

I’ve been on both sides of the table as a student and company representative at hundreds of college, internship and career fairs. I want to let you know, missing the career fair could mean a missed opportunity for making connections, networking and information gathering.

Many college students fail to take advantage of the great opportunity these events present to meet future employers. As a college student, no matter if your school calls it a Career/Internship Fair or a Graduate School/Career Fair, you should make it your business to be there.

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Employers Are There to Meet You

Employers attend career fairs because they get to meet a variety of students from all academic backgrounds in one place. You should attend because it would otherwise be almost impossible for you to meet so many prospective employers from across the country at once. This is your shot to not just be another application on the internet, but to instead make an impression.

Beyond the obvious reasons of looking for an internship or a job, also consider attending a career fair as a chance to learn about companies and professions that you may not have previously considered, get advice from company recruiters on how to stand out, and to network.



Five Steps for Succes at a Career Fair

So what can you do if you have a career fair coming up soon on your campus? Here are five simple steps for a successful career fair experience.

    1. When you approach a company representative – smile. A smile goes a long way. By just being pleasant, smiling, and friendly you are already starting off on the right foot.
    2. Offer a firm handshake. Don’t just stand there and stare at the information on the table. Make eye contact and extend your hand for a handshake. Say your name, class year and major for starters.
    3. Dress appropriately. As boring as it may sound, dust off the suit and tie and shine those shoes. Most university career centers can give you detailed guidance on appropriate business attire for the career fair.
    4. Do your research on the companies in attendance a few days before the fair. You will be able to create a target list of companies that you want to visit first. Target lists aren’t just about hitting up the most popular companies; research is about finding companies that fit with your career or internship goals. Doing research will also help you create good questions to ask the representatives.
    5. In addition to having prepared questions for your target companies, also prepare 2-4 general questions you can ask any representative.

Career Services is Your First Stop

First things first, stop by your college career center and find out when the next event will be. While I am sure you can find that information much quicker online, if you have never visited career services then this is your motivation to go find the office.

While you are there, make an appointment to work with a career counselor or advisor to get your resume reviewed. You will need a well-crafted resume when talking to the reps from the companies at the fair. If you missed the fall fair, ask if there will be a spring event. If missed them both, then look for some public job fairs to attend to put your new skills into action. When I was in college, college fair connections led to a paid internship and a full-time job offer for me. If you know how to “work” the fair, it can be a game-changer for your internship and/or job search.

Now is the time to start looking for your summer internship. Don’t get distracted and put off your search until the spring when some of the best opportunities might be gone. Download your free Internship Manual Toolkit to get on track and stay focused on getting your dream gig.

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.

 

Why I Like When College Students Knock on My Door to Sell Me Stuff

Why I Like When College Students Knock on My Door to Sell Me Stuff




I like when college students come to my door and try to sell me stuff. Strange, I know. Why exactly would anyone want to answer the door for a salesperson? Well, I like to hear their sales pitch. My husband finds this brand of entertainment amusing and thinks I am crazy. Since I work with college students and many of the salespeople who knock on my door are young folks, I like to think of it as research.

The summer internship season is fast approaching and there will be a ton of sales and marketing internships and summer jobs available. When I worked placing interns with major media companies, there were always an overwhelming number of requests for sales interns. The positions that I filled ranged from selling internet or cable services door-to-door to supporting sales teams negotiating multimillion dollar advertising contracts for major television networks.

As a ardent advocate of students doing at least four internships in college, I think at least one of those internships should be in sales, no matter your major. The transferable skills you can gain in selling products or services are super valuable across most careers no matter your professional goals.

The transferable skills you can gain in selling products or services are super valuable across most careers no matter your professional goals.

I was a public relations major who completed eight internships between undergrad and grad school. Two of the eight internships I did were in sales. Senior year I took my one and only business elective (an advertising course). I learned more about sales and business in those two internships than additional business courses would have taught me.

Take a look at the 2017 Top 50 Internships ranked by vault.com there are multiple companies that deal with financial and retail sales. Sales positions will always be around. You don’t have to always be a business, sales or marketing major to land an internship in those areas. Companies value liberals arts background as well technical backgrounds, if you can get the job done.

Transferable Skills You Can Learn in Sales

So why exactly do I open the door when I know all they want to do is sell me something? Just yesterday, I had a young college student knock on my door to try and get me to book an appointment to get a quote for new windows on my house. Much like when I interview candidates for internships or jobs, I was observing to see if he was making good eye contact, displayed confidence, was knowledgeable, seemed genuinely interested in the product he was selling and if he seemed to be making stuff up.

A good sales person makes eye contact, displays confidence, demonstrates knowledge, is genuine, can problem solve, and can think quickly on their feet. To be successful in sales you need to be creative, organized, be able to handle rejection, be persistent, have great public speaking and presentation skills, have solid writing skills, and have better than average research skills to find leads and understand your competitors offerings. According to a survey of hiring managers by payscale.com:

  • 39% of managers found their recently matriculated hires to be lacking in public speaking skills
  • 44% of managers surveyed said new grads lacked writing skills
  • 36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills
  • 56% indicated that new grads fail to pay attention to detail
  • 25% felt new grads lacked grit

Those hard and soft skills that employers are looking for are not all going to come from the classroom. After 8-12 weeks in a sales role, most interns will walk away with enhanced skills in all of these areas and more.

The young man at my door was very confident in his sales pitch and did the all the things he’d been taught to say to overcome my objections, without being pushy. He did a really good job. I didn’t book the appointment because I’m not in the market for windows. I did however ask him to wait for a minute while I went and got a a copy of my book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step-Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams to give to him for free.

I Sucked at My First Sales Internship

My very first internship freshman year was in group sales for a professional AAA baseball team. I am a sports junkie and at the time my goal was to work for a major sports franchise in any area. I was not very successful in the sales aspect of that first internship. I only sold two groups of tickets, one of which was to my church. Looking for leads, cold calling… it was a lot of work but it taught me to work through rejection and be persistent. It was often frustrating, but earning a commission on those two group sales was a pretty good feeling.

My second sales internship was my senior year when I participated in the Enterprise Rent A Car Management Internship program. I wasn’t cold calling or door knocking, but working in sales and marketing I learned about upselling, offering additional products or services and maintaining relationships with local companies in an effort to keep and increase sales. Like I said, sales happens in many different ways. I spent 8 months with ERAC at three different locations. I enjoyed my time and recommend it to students who want to gain some solid business, sales and marketing experience.

Over the course of my professional career, I’ve worked in sales of products or services with varying levels of success. Even in my positions that weren’t directly sales related, I’ve often had to call on my sales skills when creating new relationships, presenting new ideas in meetings, and developing new business opportunities. Even in networking situations, solid sales training could help you become comfortable talking to complete strangers and learn to develop a quick but impressive elevator pitch.

Do Your Research First

Some companies will attempt to lure broke and unsuspecting college students with promises of big money in just a few weeks. However, don’t just jump at the first company that promises you can earn $50,000 over the summer. Do your research and learn about the company and if it is a good fit for you. Google is your friend to find out what others have to say and also check with your university career services office.

In another occurrence a few weeks ago, I had two young men attempt to sell me on a new energy provider. They told me that they “managers of all the area energy company providers”. Really dude? It was a very short conversation because I clearly knew they were lying. Make sure the company is legit and reputable. If you don’t believe in or even like the product or service yourself, then you won’t be successful anyways. Working in sales does not mean lying for a living.

At the end of it all, you don’t want to waste your summer working for a company that doesn’t really care if you succeed or not. A good company is going to provide real training and invest in your success while teaching you good sales strategy. Sales can be a tough place to succeed. I’m not trying to get you to change major or career goals, but merely want you to expand your horizons and accept different challenges that will help you become better at whatever career you decide to pursue.

Download my free Internship Manual toolkit for a roadmap to finding the right internship.

9 Moves That Could Take You From Intern to New Hire

9 Moves That Could Take You From Intern to New Hire

There’s still time to end your internship with a bang—and leave with a job lined up.

by Daniel Bortz for Monster.com

Tick, tock. The internship clock is winding down. With a few weeks left to market yourself as a potential new hire, leaving a lasting impression should move its way to the top of your to-do list.

“You need to finish strong if you want a job offer,” says Alyson Kavalukas, internship coordinator at University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Career Development & Placement Assistance.

Handle this crunch time right and you could fall under the 73% of interns who convert to full-time hires—the highest it’s been since before the recession, according to The National Association of Colleges and Employers. We’ve got a comprehensive checklist that lists what you need to do to distinguish yourself as the next new hire.

Get feedback from your boss

You can’t grow if you don’t know, so ask your boss for a review. If your company doesn’t have a formal evaluation process, it’s your responsibility to get constructive criticism from your manager. You want to get a combination of specific and big-picture feedback, says Stephanie Waite, senior associate director of Yale’s Office of Career Strategy. Ask your boss how well you performed on specific projects or assignments, says Waite, and get input on your overall performance.

Learn about the hiring process

It’s not enough to just express interest in getting hired—you need to get a sense of how the company hires employees on board, says Waite. Is there a particular time of year that the organization searches for talent, or does it recruit only on an as-needed basis? Is it kosher to contact hiring managers directly, or do you need to apply to job postings online first? How many interview stages are there? Running these questions by your supervisor shows that you’re serious about working for the company.



Touch base with HR

If you’re interning at a large company, your boss may not be aware of every single job opening in other departments. So you’ll want to meet with someone in HR to find out what entry-level job opportunities are available.

“There may be job openings that aren’t listed on the company’s website,” says Sharise Kent, author of The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams. 

Bond with your peers

Hopefully, you’ve already built relationships with your fellow interns, but if you haven’t done so yet, get cracking. They can be valuable assets to you in the future, says millennial career coach Kim Carbia. “They’re not just your competition,” says Carbia. Befriending these people—and staying in touch—will pay off if you need a referral in the future.

Dust off your resume

Now is the time to update your resume—when the internship experience is fresh in your mind. It’s also beneficial to get feedback from your boss on your resume before you leave—and provide a copy that he can keep on file. “Managers like to see how you reflected on the internship on your resume,” Kent adds.

Ask your boss for a job…

It sounds like an obvious step, but many college students are too timid to do it, says Carbia. Express enthusiasm about working for the company full time. (“I loved my experience here and can see myself joining your organization.”) No current job openings? Try to leave with freelance or part-time work.

“Many companies hire interns as contractors for three to six months and then bring them on full time,” says Carbia.

…or a reference

If your boss is happy with your performance, ask if he or she will be a reference for you in the future. You might request a writtenletter of recommendation that you can add to your job application toolkit. Getting a short, three-to-four sentence recommendation on LinkedIn can also go a long way, says Waite.

Moreover, your manager may be able to tap their professional network to help you find a job, but you need to ask. (Try, “I understand there are no job opportunities here, but do you have anyone in your sphere that you can introduce me to?”)

“If your manager is confident in your skills, he or she is going to lend you a hand,” says Carbia.

Tie up loose ends

Find out what the transition process is for any unfinished projects, says Waite. If you’re working on an assignment that’s going to be passed on to someone else, ask your manager what you should accomplish before you leave. Also, consider giving your boss a progress report so that she knows what work you’ve completed and what’s unfinished.

Write meaningful thank-you notes

Express gratitude to the people who shaped your internship experience. (Read: don’t only thank your supervisor.) If you were assigned a mentor—or an employee mentored you informally—write the person a handwritten thank-you letter. (Ditto if a campus recruiter helped you get the internship, says Kavalukas.) Make sure you write personalized notes; generic thank-you letters don’t solidify relationships.