Get That Internship! Wrap Up

Over the course of this spring semester, I covered steps in the internship search process. As a wrap-up to the series, here is the complete listing of “Get That Internship!” posts. Enjoy!

How to Find an Internship

How to Target Your Resume for Internship Applications

Internship Applications: What Do You Need?

How to Prepare for Internship Interviews

Ace Your Internship Interviews

Appropriate Interview Follow-Up

What to Do When You Receive an Internship Offer

Start Preparing for Your Summer Internship

Top Three Tips for Internship Success

I hope you found this internship advice useful, and I hope it helped you in completing a successful internship search. Best of luck in the next part of your internship journey!

Top Three Tips for Internship Success

Summer internships will be starting very soon. Just in case you’re not prepared for that yet, here’s your pre-summer internship to-do list.

Once you get started and settle into your new work situation, it’s time to be strategic and set yourself up to make the most of the experience. Here are my top three tips for internship success:

  1. Go above and beyond the call of duty. Hopefully, you will have plenty of work to keep you busy at your internship. Some of that work you might not be super excited to do, like filing or making copies. Do this work without complaint, and treat these tasks with the same respect you show to other more “important” assignments. Sometimes, you’ll complete all of your work and have free time on your hands. Make that time count by looking for more to do and asking others if there is anything you can do to help them. An internship is your opportunity to make a good professional impression and gain as much experience as possible. Approach the entire experience with gusto!
  2. Network with everyone. One of the greatest benefits of an internship is meeting professionals in your field. You’ll learn the ropes of your future profession from seasoned veterans and maybe even find a mentor. But in the realm of professional relationships, connecting with co-workers NOT directly in your line of work is often overlooked. An important lesson to learn in networking is that anyone could become a valuable contact. Just because you think that a person in a different line of work can be of no help to you professionally, keep in mind that you never know where life may lead you. Get to know a variety of people at your internship and understand that variety is what makes a good network.
  3. Challenge yourself. Who really wants to push themselves during the summer? Summer is all about relaxing, isn’t it? It could be, but you’re an intern. Challenge yourself to try new things or take on assignments that are a little uncomfortable. By pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will grow personally and professionally. And it’s this kind of growth that makes your internship a great one.

There are many, many more ways to be a successful intern. For more tips, see my Pinterest board, Best Practices for the Workplace.

Photo from Number 17

Give and You Shall Receive

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Internships are important. According to YouTern, “9 out of 10 direct-from-college hires to go those with internship experience on their resumes.” Employers that I talk with tell me that they look for candidates with related experience, the kind typically gained through internships.

You know that an internship benefits you. But have you ever thought about how an internship benefits an employer? Start thinking about it if you want that internship or if you want to be a successful intern.

Thank you Card

When Applying for an Internship…

  • Your resume is about you, but not really about you. Yes, your resume and cover letter provide details on your skills and experiences that qualify you for the internship. But when it comes to crafting your resume, it should speak to an employer’s needs. For example, let’s say you are applying for a PR Internship and you’ve already had some PR experience (like a previous internship). Instead of lumping that PR experience into a general “Experience” section with all of your other jobs, break it out into a “PR Experience” section. Help the reader clearly see that you have the experience they’re looking for.
  • Be careful with those Objective Statements. More often than not, I read Objectives on students’ resumes that are all about themselves: “To obtain an internship that allows me to gain experience, use my communication skills…blah, blah, blah.” If you are going to use an Objective Statement on your resume, keep it simple: “To obtain the ______ Internship with ________ (name of organization).” Don’t go into a long diatribe about what the internship will do for you.
  • The same goes for that cover letter. Just as with your resume, your cover letter is about you. However, the letter is about you in the context of what you bring to the table. How will your background benefit the employer? Have you worked in a similar environment? Have you done similar work successfully in the past?
  • Don’t forget to send a thank you note. This one should be self-explanatory. If you have an interview, make sure to follow up with a thank you note. Thank the interviewer for his/her time. Incorporate elements from your conversation, something that highlights what you will bring to the position. Showcase your appreciation for the opportunity and a genuine interest in their organization and the position.

During Your Internship…

  • There is never nothing to do. So, you finished all of your assigned work for the day. Do you sit back and relax until it’s time to leave? No, you don’t. Ask your co-workers if they need any help. Look around you for a new project to tackle. Work ahead on existing projects. Bottom line: Do something.
  • Be grateful for the opportunity. Not everyone does an internship before they graduate. For some, this might be by choice. For others, opportunities don’t pan out. Either way, you are fortunate for having the opportunity to work in a professional setting doing the work you want to do when you graduate. So, say thank you. Do small things like providing a co-worker a recommendation on LinkedIn. Share your great experience with others, such as through our Intern of the Month feature.

Yes, an internship will provide you with experience that boosts your resume and makes you a marketable candidate. But as an intern, you are there to do something for that employer, too. The right frame of mind, hard work, and gratefulness will pay off in your favor big time!

Photo by Jon Ashcroft

Intern Spotlight: Emily Gullickson ’12

Emily Gullickson

Emily Gullickson, Senior (December 2012)
Major: Marketing, Direct & Internet
Minor: Media Arts & Game Design, Visual Media Design
Internship: Marketing Internship with Fort HealthCare

How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the position?

Before applying at Fort HealthCare, I had been on the internship hunt for many months. But through school organizations such as AMA and classes at UW-Whitewater, I had found many useful resources throughout the process of applying. I finally stumbled upon my internship at Fort HealthCare through Big Shoes Network. The position interested me not only because it was close to Whitewater, but because Fort HealthCare had recently been ranked among the Top 100 Places to Work in Wisconsin. I had some knowledge about Fort HealthCare through AMA and decided it would be a good idea to apply. The job description had many things that I thought I would enjoy doing, including things such as social media management and event promotion. It took me about three weeks to secure my internship, but following up with Fort HealthCare played a vital role.

Describe your internship experience.

At Fort HealthCare, I help the marketing and health promotion department with many projects. I have helped with programs such as the first annual Weight Management Expo; edited biographies and created ads for the Therapy and Sports Center; made promotional flyers in Adobe Illustrator; created many social media posts; written press releases for upcoming classes; added and updated events for Fort HealthCare’s 365 events website; and generated ideas for the concealed weapons policy.

What have you learned during your internship? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?

While at Fort HealthCare, I have seen the basics on how a marketing team works, what they do on a daily basis to keep the company running, and what challenges they run into, especially when it comes to launching new programs and promotions. Not only have I seen how a team works as a whole, but I have learned how to use new programs as well. I have also seen the agency side of things when it comes to Fort HealthCare and what tasks are delegated to marketing agencies that they work with. This can easily relate to my career goals as a marketing student. I watched a new web design go when I started my internship, and I have watched the revisions and changes they have had to make after it went live. As an internet marketing and visual media design student, this is an ideal thing for me to see. Working at Fort HealthCare also relates to the field I would like to be in someday [Sports Marketing/Health Promotions], as sports and being physically active are things that interest me.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

  • Internships are the building block to success! In the month I have been with Fort HealthCare, I have learned so much already. None of it is ever something that I am going to learn through a textbook. Once you land your internship, you will be hungry to learn, learn, learn.
  • Don’t ever give up on your internship search! It took me a lot of interviews and months to land mine, but the hard work of applying over and over again has definitely paid off. I have learned so many skills within the marketing and visual media design fields that I will take with me the rest of my life.

What did Emily’s supervisor have to say?

Emily was tasked with loading ALL Fort HealthCare events [on Health365Events.com], which was over 40 events for the fall alone, and compiling a mailing to be sent to local NPOs. She had the events loaded in record time and was on the mailing right away. She completed the mailing in its entirety to over 100 local NPOs encouring their use of the site.

Her go-getter attitude took this project from sitting on my desk for months to completion in less than two days. Amazing.

Emily also exemplifies UW-Whitewater’s Core Values…

Commitment to the Pursuit of Knowledge

Emily is open to learning new things but also the “why” of why we do things. It is not enough to know that we have the Health365Events.com website; she wants to know how people use it. It is not enough that we create flyers for classes/programs; she wants to know who takes them and what they learn. It is not enough to create Facebook posts; she is interested in who is reading them and how that feeds into our marketing plan.

Personal & Professional Integrity

Her integrity and professionalism are second to none. She speaks up when appropriate and withholds negativity. She engages people at all levels of the organization in meetings and via electronic communication. I trust that she will do impeccably well in her future if she maintains these qualities.

Congratulations Emily on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for September 2011!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Emily? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-W students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Getting a Virtual Internship

Bored at Work

In her second post, Alysondra Milano shares her tips for finding and securing a virtual internship. Alysondra is currently “virtually” interning with Time at the Table, a nonprofit organization working to promote the reconnection of families around the dinner table. If you missed “meeting” Alysondra, read her introduction post.

In my last post, I went through what virtual internships are and what they can offer you. Let’s go through how to actually get the internship.

Start by searching on websites like you would for any other internship. Some of my favorite places to look include Hawk Jobs and CyberInterns.com. Companies post their internships on these sites and will indicate if they are virtual. Send in your resume but make sure that it is error free since you are applying for a position that will require you to be able to communicate well through writing.

It always helps to connect with something that you like to do. If you are doing work for a cause or brand that you really believe in, it will make it a lot easier to schedule in time to complete your work for them. This is also another great way to find an internship. If you work with a nonprofit or know of a small local company that is having a hard time doing something that you could do from home, offer your services to them.

For example, my [current] internship is in social media. I approached a nonprofit recently about allowing me to do their social media for them. I told them about my experience with Time at the Table (the virtual internship that I have now) and explained how my work there could be applied to their cause. Just ask if you can do the work for free in exchange for college credit and a way to build your resume. The process to get credit is not very hard and takes just a few forms, the consent of an instructor and the consent of the person who will oversee you as an intern.

Also, write, write, write! Since you will not necessarily have a formal interview, most companies ask you to provide them with a writing sample. A great way to have some writing samples on hand is to start blogging. This will keep your writing skills sharp, and blogging may be one thing that the company will expect that you will already be able to do.

Please do your homework as well! When you send your resume, tailor it to the company that you are sending it to. These things may matter even more when they are basing who they will hire off of what they see from your online correspondence. This also shows your attention (or lack thereof) to detail. The company may set up an interview with you (and other candidates) online via Skype. If you know many different platforms, come with ideas tailored to their brand, and know their key messages and values, you will stand out among the competition.

Remember that since you are applying for a position where a brick and mortar presence is not required, that opens the field up to applicants from all over the world – applicants that will be our competition. You would not believe how many people do not follow through on the research portion. I was told after I secured my virtual internship that I was one of only two candidates who applied that took it upon themselves to research the organization and what they stood for. That can make a huge difference and secure you a position over someone who may have more experience, but doesn’t have the follow through that you were able to show!

As long as you show your desire, what services you can provide, and go above and beyond the other candidates, securing that internship will be just the beginning!

Photo Source