Work Experience During College
We’ve all heard the chicken and the egg conversation about education and experience. In order to land a job in most fields after college, you need a certain degree, but many employers want relevant experience in a new hire.
So how do you get real world experience while you’re in college? Internships, of course!
But there are a limited number of internship opportunities to go around. That’s why you need to know what companies are looking for in their interns so you can stand out.
6 Ways to Make a Good Impression
1. Be Genuine
First and foremost, be yourself. Interviewers will see right through you if you’re trying to be someone you’re not. Most companies want a team comprised of people who are uniquely themselves, not robots, because individuality positively contributes to a healthy company culture.
2. Yearn to Learn
For a marketing internship experience to be truly beneficial for both you and the company, you must want to learn. Go into the interview with a list of skills you hope to learn if you’re hired. This not only shows initiative and a desire for self-improvement, but also proves that you did your homework about the internship and industry. Plus, it shows your interests!
Communication is key in all areas of life. When you’re applying for an internship, though, you want to make sure your communication is professional, engaging, and timely. Professional communication implies speaking, listening, writing, and responding in a way that is appropriate for the workplace. Engaging communication means you’re still being yourself. And, of course, timely communication refers to submitting documents and replying to emails as promptly as possible.
4. Don’t Overpromise
Remember: You’re applying for an internship, which means you're just starting out. The hiring organization knows that. Focus on skills you're truly good at and be honest about the ones you haven’t mastered yet. Too often, our team has seen applicants tout a list of skills they are not actually proficient in, and it quickly shows down the road.
5. Submit a Solid Resume
By solid resume, I mean: clear, concise, and grammatically correct. Your resume doesn’t need to be flashy or overly impressive, but it should be well done. Grammar matters. Use a free tool like Grammarly to catch any mistakes you may have missed (and have someone look over it for an extra eye as well)!
6. Demonstrate Your Problem-Solving Skills
Companies want to see candidates who can learn quickly, follow processes, and figure things out on their own. Of course, you’ll need guidance. But once you’ve been given the resources to succeed, apply some “figure-out-edness” to get the job done.
Internship Interview Expectations
If you come into an interview with those 6 traits, you’ll be well on your way to success! But let’s cover a few best practices for the interview.
Turn Your Video On
With so many workplaces going virtual, you’ll most likely be interviewed via a platform like Zoom. While you could stay hidden on the other side of that screen, it’s not a good idea. Video helps make a personal connection. Hiring managers want to see who they are speaking with, so don’t forget to turn your video on from the start!
Present Yourself Well
A common question in prep for an interview, especially a virtual one, is what to wear. At Stratagon, we're pretty low key. But it's important to show that you care about the position, so finding a middle ground where you're comfortable but also present yourself well is ideal when it comes to dress.
After an interview, it’s never a bad idea to send a follow-up email. It shows you care about the position. But don’t overdo it. Respectfully show your appreciation for getting the opportunity to interview, include any questions you may have forgotten, ask about possible next steps and a typical timeline. You’d be surprised how few people send a thank you email! It’s a small step that can make a lasting impression.
If you’re thinking about an internship down the road and wondering how you can boost your resume and improve your skills today, I have a few ideas to get you started.
Get involved in a local charitable organization. Not only will you be contributing to your community, but you’ll also be adding a valuable point on your resume. Plus, volunteering contributes to a more fulfilling life. It’s a win-win-win all around!
Join a Student Organization
Get involved in what really interests you. You never know, it may change the path of your career (and life). Sometimes landing a job is about who you know. So, the more you do, the more people you will meet who can advocate for you! Student organizations are the perfect place to build these networking relationships.
Learn a New Skill
Today, you can learn anything. You have the whole world at your fingertips. Find out what you’re passionate about and then research the skills you need to truly excel in that area. You don’t have to wait for a college professor or a marketing manager to teach you to start acquiring useful skills.
Above all though, be a good person. You can learn the rest!
About Strat U
StratU is a 3-phase career development program that offers students and recent graduates personalized learning paths to expand their marketing toolbox and build tangible business success. Simply put, you won’t be an intern here, you’ll be one of our people – creating real change, working on real projects, and building the tools, experiences and relationships needed to propel your creative career.