It's that time of year! The mad scramble for coveted internships is on! Resumes are being cranked out, emails sent, new shoes bought. I've noticed in recent days that an old post I wrote about internship interviews is getting a lot of hits, so I'm writing a new one to add some additional advice.
- Read the internship job description carefully. If you don't have an interest in that field, don't apply. It's just that simple. You're wasting the time of the person interviewing you, and they will resent it.
- Customize your resume. A generic resume template is a great start, but once you've read the job description, customize the objective and highlight the things on your resume that would apply to the job you're trying to get.
- Don't name your resume "resume." When you're sending a resume to a person who is receiving five resumes per day, it's not helpful to them to receive a resume without a name on it. Try naming it like this: "Jane Doe resume Feb 2014." That way, the person receiving it will know who's it is and when they received it - without even opening it.
- Have questions written down ahead of time. During the interview, you will probably be a little nervous. So do your homework ahead of time and write down a few questions. That way, when the interviewer asks if you have questions, you'll have something to say.
- Take notes. Jot down any notes you want to make during the interview and also the names of everyone you meet.
- Write thank you notes. I don't care what anyone else tells you - handwritten thank yous are still a good idea and set you apart from the crowd. Try to mail your thank you notes the same day so that your face is still fresh in their minds.
- Be up front about vacations. If you're taking a three-week vacation with your family in July, be up front during your interview. It's not fair to expect that much time off during a short internship.
- Don't take unpaid internships. Unpaid internships are most likely illegal and create a lot of resentment. Why waste your time on a company that is making money off of free labor?
- Ask for a timeline for a decision. At the end of the interview, ask when a decision will be made.
- Don't appear desperate. Even if this is the only internship you're applying for and you think you've got it in the bag, do not act like this internship is the end of the world. Appear to be completely occupied with other interviews, job offers and options.
All the other advice applies - and is worth mentioning. You'd be surprised how many people don't think these rules don't apply to them:
- Do not dress the same as your interviewer - this is a big mistake. Always dress up.
- Grooming is essential. Freshly showered, clean clothes, a nice manicure. Scruffy is out.
- Be on time. Duh!!!
Good luck, and I hope you find the internship of your dreams!