Everyone knows the hustle of getting internships during your college years, and we can all probably agree that it is one of the most stressful aspects of being an undergraduate student and a budding professional.
Now the question is how do you go from an applicant to an intern? There are many ways to do so, but the main way is to market yourself as the best candidate at those interviews. Interviews are the best way for the employer to get to know you, your experiences, and what you can bring to the table for their company. After speaking to alumni and other working professionals over the past few years, I’ve accumulated a couple tips that can help you ace that interview and land that job:
Have your own story
If you’ve gotten to the interview stage, it means the employer considers your experiences to make you a valuable candidate for the position, but what do these experiences say about you? How do they represent or pave the way to achieving your career goals? These are questions to consider when crafting your one-two line story that you would give during or as your elevator pitch.
The key to making this is connecting the dots between the experiences listed on your resume. This can include, but is not limited to the industry of those experiences, the overarching roles/responsibilities that you took on and why you enjoyed taking them on, or the type of companies you worked at (ex. Size, culture, etc.). This “story” should also connect to the role and/or the company that you are applying to.
This not only makes you a more memorable applicant, but also demonstrates that you are a consistent professional that’s driven by specific career goals. Most importantly, you can make your “story” centered around your passion(s), drive, and/or career goals: which is much more than just a bunch of experiences.
Practice behavioral questions strategically
Behavioral questions are a way for the employer to see how well you would handle certain situations at work as an intern, so it is always best to practice these before walking into an interview. First, go on glassdoor.com to get an idea of the behavioral questions specific to the company and role that you’re applying to. Then, do some research on their website and/or glassdoor.com to gauge their company culture and values.
Since behavioral questions are generally broad, there are many ways to go about answering them, as you may have multiple experiences that are relevant for one question. This is when you use the company’s culture and values to choose which experience to use when answering these questions. While some companies value teamwork, others value independence and initiative. While some are more fast-paced, others are more meticulous. Understanding the type of company you are applying to can better help you highlight your experiences.
Confidence is key!
At the end of the day, you know you best, so no one can market you better to an employer than yourself. Most companies aren’t always looking for the candidate with the most impressive experiences or the one with the highest GPA. Many of them are looking for candidates who are passionate, driven, and willing to take advantage of any opportunity they get to grow their professional skill sets and learn as much as they can.
Good luck to everyone on their job searches! My name is Ashley Wu. Feel free to ask me any questions about interviews or resumes at any GMS meeting, and I would love to offer any help that I can. ☺