Internships prepare you for the real world workforce. The work experience gained in an internship enables you to transition into a career. But, in order to gain that experience, you must first be interviewed and hired as an intern.
10 Tips for Internship Interviews
- Prepare - Research the organization. Visit their website, read and understand their mission statement. Find out as much as you can about the company, employees, structure and clients. There is nothing that impresses an interviewer more than a candidate that shows a real interest in the organization and its goals
- Practice - Think about why this internship opportunity is one you want and one you would be good at. You will be asked questions around your interests, skills and suitability as they relate to the internship position. Spend time before the interview preparing answers to typically asked questions. In addition, you will be asked questions that explore the behaviors or competencies required in an internship. Preparing for these types of questions beforehand will allow you to answer fluently and positively.
- Customize - Be sure to customize your resume for each interview opportunity. Tailor your skills and experience to what is required for the job you are applying for.
- Dress Professionally - First impressions are always important. It is always better to overdress than underdress. Dress for the job you are applying for.
- Arrive Early - Plan to arrive about 15 minutes early for your interview. This gives you enough time to find parking, check in and prepare yourself and relax.
- Make a good impression - It is important to create a favorable first impression from the word go. Greeting the doorman, receptionist and everyone else you meet politely. Remember to turn your cell phone off and avoid using gadgets like your tablet while waiting. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and ensure your body language is positive throughout the process. Examples of positive body language include smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening and nodding and speaking clearly.
- The Elevator Speech - In case you don’t know what this is, an elevator speech is prepared in case you suddenly find yourself in a situation, for example, in an elevator with the president of the company – where you need to pitch yourself within a few short moments. Prepare your elevator speech beforehand, which should detail who you are, what your goals are and why you are a great candidate for the internship.
- Include the right documents - Bring extra copies of your resume, cover letter and references with you to the interview. If you have a relevant work sample bring it along with you. An assignment, presentation, award, writing example, portfolio, term paper or research project that may be relevant to the internship opportunity.
- Ask Questions - Before your interview think about some relevant questions you can ask the interviewer. Preparing these ahead of time shows the interviewer that you have spent time thinking about the internship opportunity. Questions to ask might include: How do you anticipate my skills can support your organization? What types of new skills will I be able to learn? What will a typical day be like?
- Thank each person who interviewed you before you leave. Writing thank you emails shortly after the interview will give you an edge over other candidates who did not.
The Texas Internship Challenge is a campaign to increase and promote paid internships for Texas students with Texas employers. Go to www.TXInternshipChallenge.com to create and post resumes, conduct internship searches, and apply for positions.