What is it like to interview for an internship?

Interview

Congratulations! You got the interview! Now what? Internship interviews are a little different than job interviews. In a job interview the employer is more concerned about finding out if you have the necessary qualifications and experience.  However, typically, internships provide students with opportunities to gain the skills and experiences that employers are looking for in their professional career opportunities.

Recently, I had a couple of internship interviews. Some of the questions I was asked were:

  • Would you please tell me about yourself?
  • Would you please identify one of your strengths?
  • What do you consider to be one of your weaknesses?
  • What kind of classes are you taking/have you taken?
  • What types of activities are you involved in?

The last two questions are more common in internship interviews as oppose to job interviews. Usually, an interviewer will ask about the classes you have taken in order to help determine what type of theoretical knowledge and skills you will bring to the internship.  When the employer asks about what other activities you are involved in this will help give them more information about who you are, what types of things interest you, your work ethic, and potentially your availability.  When employers make their hiring decisions, they want to choose the candidate with the best fit. Typically, this is a combination of skills, personality and availability.

Another question an interviewer might ask is, “How long do you plan to be working here?” At first this may seem odd since this is an internship and internships typically have start and end dates. However, this can be a tricky question because some employers like to hire interns for a short period of time and if the intern works out well, they often will ask the intern to gain more skills and experience by lengthening their internship time. If the employer is not clear about a set timeframe and they ask you this question, let them employer know the minimum amount of hours you are looking for and if this works out for both the employer and you that you would be open to increasing your hours or length of time in the internship.

The most common internship specific question that I was asked was, “What would you like to gain from this internship?” For me, the answer was easy. I wanted to get on-the-job experience and a better idea of what it would be like to work in that career field. This answer seemed to both please and impress the interviewers. Employers want to know that you are genuinely interested in the position, as opposed to just completing the internship because it is a graduation requirement.  The main thing to remember in an interview is to be confident, be honest, and be yourself!

Candace

This post was written by Candace Damato. Candace is a sophomore at Carroll University who is a double major in Graphic Communications and Business-Marketing.

She has an obsession with glitter and loves scrapbooking and coloring.

 

Securing an internship using the Great Lakes Community Investment Grant

LukeBlog

Photo credit: UrbanMilwaukee.com

This past December I secured a paid internship with the Milwaukee County Department of Economic Development. Since I started in January, this internship has provided me with hands-on experience working with city development officials, analyzing economic data associated with urban growth, and communicating legal documents with municipal mayors. As a senior majoring in Political Science, an internship of this nature is not typically paid. However, with the help of the Great Lakes Community Investment Grant (GLCIG) I am able to gain valuable hands-on experience essential for a potential career, all while balancing out college expenses. The underlying purpose of the GLCIG is to provide funding for students studying in the fields of humanities and social sciences, such as but not limited to, History, English, Political Science, Sociology, or Global Studies. Students who major in these fields of study do not typically land a paid internship during their undergraduate studies. But the paid incentive offered by the GLCIG offsets this difference. If you are a humanities or social science major looking to secure a summer 2014 internship, be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity!

LukeThis post was written by Luke Mattek. Luke is currently a senior at Carroll University studying Political Science. In his free-time he enjoys reading, exercising, playing tennis, fishing, and keeping up with the Packers.

Career Services is hiring! A new perspective

Jessica Jordan

Finding the Position
Being a freshman in college, there are lots of new things including a campus job. I was originally working in the gym but was looking for something more. Luckily Deb Weber, Director of Career Services, gave a presentation to my CCS class about what type of resources Career Services provides for students. One of the current Career Fellows also shared some of his views on Career Services and how much he loved his job. Then Deb stated that Career Services was hiring! I decided to email her after the presentation about the position. She forwarded my information on to Torrie Boduch, Career Services Senior Advisor. I went and picked up an application to apply for the Career Fellow position. Torrie contacted me a few days later to schedule an interview.  The interview process was nerve-wracking and exciting but looking back, it was an experience that now will help me relate to students preparing for their first interview. During the interview I was nervous but Torrie was very kind and easy to talk to. She asked me questions about the information I had on my resume and why I was interested in the Career Fellow position. At the end of the interview she wanted me to fix a cover letter and resume to see how I performed on the task, which is one of the main responsibilities of the position. Even though I wasn’t an expert on resumes and cover letters, I got the job and was ready to tackle all the new information I would be learning as the newest member of the Career Services team!

The Job
I was nervous to start the Career Fellow position because I did not know very much regarding resumes and cover letter writing. To prepare for the semester, we had peer educator training where I was able to meet the staff, including the other students who were Career Fellows, and learn the daily tasks and responsibilities of the job. The veteran Career Fellows gave presentations on how to interact with students during an appointment and lots of information about Career Services. From the start, I could tell how welcoming the whole staff was and we even played get to know you games. (Which happens a lot!) The first day I began working, I was trained on updating our job database, Pioneer Career Net, and how to access information on the different websites that Career Services uses. I was able to watch several resume and cover letter appointments with other Career Fellows to better understand how an appointment goes. It was only two weeks before I had my first student appointment. During the appointment I was very nervous but all my training paid off and I was able to use my knowledge from presentations, observing, and our resources as a guide. I still have questions regarding different situations, but I know I can always ask anyone from the Career Services staff because they want to help me learn. I work in such an inviting and open environment in the Learning Commons where there are always students and the staff is always friendly!

What I have learned
I have learned not to be afraid to ask questions, get suggestions and other opinions from the Career Services staff. They are all so friendly and open to any questions that you may have. I learned how to update  and add new jobs using use Pioneer Career Net. Every day I learn new things about resumes, cover letters, and career development tools, but I feel as I continue to have appointments and work with students I will know exactly the necessary components.

This position was a great fit for me.  I encourage anyone who enjoys working with students and challenging themselves to learn new things to consider applying for a Career Fellow position.

Jessica Jordan

Jessica Jordan is a Freshman at Carroll University studying Psychology Pre- Physical Therapy. She enjoys hanging out with friends and watching movies.

5 Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

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Be aware of your environment
One of the most important things for a phone interview is to find a quiet, distraction-free environment to talk. The last thing you want is a loud noise or friend walking by yelling your name to distract you from the task at hand. Make sure you have good reception if you are talking on a cell phone. For me, I live right by a train track. I had to find a quiet place on campus where I could talk on the phone where I wasn’t a nuisance to others and there was nothing distracting me.

Sound is everything
People can hear the tone of your voice through the phone even though they can’t see your face. Some people like to do phone interviews in front of a mirror because it reminds them to smile and they feel more comfortable. Be clear, talk slow, and speak with a purpose. And a reminder from above, if at all possible, keep distracting background noises to a minimum.

Having notes in front of you isn’t cheating!
When I prepare for an interview over the phone, I always have my resume, cover letter, job description and notes in front of me. I like to have my resume and cover letter on hand, just in case I get nervous and they ask me to elaborate on a specific item that I can’t remember. It is also a great reference if you get a behavioral question and freeze. You can take a peek at your resume and it may spark your memory!

The job description and notes are where I highlight company specifics that I want to be sure I include in some answers. A great example of this is if they ask you why you want to work for their company. When they ask, you can have a great fact you found while researching or a specific duty on the job description you’re really looking forward to. If you’re really nervous, these are all great resources to have in front of you to reference if needed.

Practice interview questions ahead of time
Just like in an in person interview, make sure you practice! I even will write down some mock questions and take notes on the way I want to answer. Be sure not to write out exact answers; you don’t want to sound scripted. However, you can jot down words that will trigger your memory in case you get tense.

 

Send an email thank you within 24 hours
Phone interviews can be used as a way to screen a pool of applicants before being the final applicants are asked to come in for an in person interview.  Most of the time a company will want to meet you in person before offering you a job. (Note: if you are applying for a job that is a long distance away, a phone/video interview may be the way you get hired). But typically phone interview decisions are made much quicker than an in person final interview. The reason why is because they are deciding whether to ask you to come in for an interview rather than offering you a job. Make sure to send a thank you within 24 hours of your interview. With the time constraint, a professional email will do. I suggest if you have it in the morning, send it by the time they leave for work that day.

 

I hope these tips were helpful! Always remember, interviewers aren’t trying to trick you. They are trying to get to know you and see if you would be a good fit for the position and their company. Be prepared and confident! If you want more tips on interviewing, contact a Career Services member today!

 

ImageThis post was written by Lydia Guell. Lydia is currently a senior studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She enjoys hanging out with her niece, witty banter and Diet Pepsi.

How a Visit to the Campus Center Helped Me Get an Internship

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“Do you ever notice all those people sitting at tables in the Campus Center around lunch time? Do you know who these people are? They’re employers! And they came to Carroll because they want to hire YOU! Employers come to Carroll throughout the year with hopes of hiring some of our talented students. In fact, this is how I got my internship as a Graphic Designer.

Last semester, I began searching for an internship. No, I am not graduating anytime soon, I’m actually only a sophomore. However, I know that it is never too early to start gaining hands-on experience. Just like many students, I was not completely sure how or where to begin my search.  So, I started on the Career Services Department page. While scrolling through the page, I noticed the Google calendar. After clicking on a few of the employers listed, I saw that a company, Lasertag Adventure, was in search of a Graphic Design Intern. What was even more exciting was that a representative from the company was going to be in the Campus Center during lunch the next day.

The following day, after eating lunch, I walked out to the Campus Center and saw that there was in fact a representative from Lasertag Adventure. I walked over, and said that I saw he was looking for a Graphic Design Intern. He seemed pretty excited about my inquiring, almost as if there had not been many students asking about the position. I introduced myself, and we talked briefly and casually about some of my qualifications. At the end of the conversation, he handed me his card, and asked that I email him with some samples of my design work. Within a couple of days, I was asked to come in for a more formal interview. And just a few days after that, I was offered the job!

I started the internship last fall, and was very fortunate to be able to keep it for this spring semester as well. Working at Lasertag Adventure has been a wonderful experience thus far. It has allowed me to get a feel for what a career in this field might be like, as well as teaching me the skills that I will need to be successful in this field in the future.

If I could give one piece of advice based on this experience, it would be to take advantage of the fact that there are employers in the Campus Center lunch. Rather than just walk right past them, stop and chat with the representative. They may have a job opportunity that you didn’t know about! Even if a job or internship doesn’t transpire, it is still a good opportunity to learn to talk to employers in a less formal way. Don’t miss out on the great opportunities right in front of you!”

ImageThis post was written by Candace Damato. Candace is a sophomore at Carroll University who is a double major in Graphic Communications and Business-Marketing.

She has an obsession with glitter and loves scrapbooking and coloring.

3 Tips for Finding an Internship That Fits You

“Last semester I began looking for an internship in hopes of gaining valuable hands-on experience prior to graduating this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Moreover, I wanted to gain experience applicable to what I will be studying in graduate school, Urban Planning. I could not have found a more perfect fit! This semester I will intern at the Milwaukee County Department of Economic Development.

The searching process for my internship began at one of Career Services’ most valuable resources: Pioneer Career Net (PCN). This resource is a database for thousands of jobs, internships, employers, resume requests, and many other valuable career resources. I narrowed down my search results by utilizing PCN’s sorting tool that allowed me to use key words in the search process, such as “urban planning, government, development, economic, politics, etc.” Within a few clicks, I found an internship opening in the Milwaukee County Executive Office.

A few weeks after I submitted my cover letter and resume, I received a phone call from the Executive Office requesting an interview! I was a little nervous for my interview, as most people normally are. In fact, while waiting for my interview, I forgot to turn my phone off. This lack of concentration resulted in an abrupt disturbance in the middle of the interview (ALWAYS turn your phone off)! However, the interview nonetheless went smoothly. I discussed my qualifications, past experiences, and future goals with the two interviewees for about 20 minutes. It was after my discussion of wanting to attend graduate school for urban planning that one interviewee asked if I would like to intern for Economic Development. While I wouldn’t be interning in the Executive Office, I was still thrilled because it matched my prospective career path. I accepted this offer and two weeks later I found myself in a second interview with the Director of Economic Development. The director and I talked about urban and economic development in Milwaukee for about two hours. So, it was more of a casual conversation rather than an interview!

There are three things to keep in mind during this entire process. First, after my initial interview, I received a phone call two days later from the interviewee saying she passed my name on to the Director of Economic Development for a subsequent interview. I returned her call, left a message, but did not hear back for another week. So, I called the interviewee back, touch based, and it turns out she forgot to send me the e-mail correspondence with the Director of Economic Development. The lesson here is to always follow up with a few phone calls to ensure everything is on track, even after you left a voicemail in the first place. Second, utilize PCN to find an internship or job that suits you. The searching process allows you to efficiently pinpoint a position that fits your career goals. Third, you never know where an interview may lead to. Always keep your mind open to other possibilities that may benefit your potential career!”

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This post was written by Luke Mattek. Luke is currently a senior at Carroll University studying Political Science. In his free-time he enjoys reading, exercising, playing tennis, fishing, and keeping up with the Packers.