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Getting a good internship is all about the prep work, and there’s a reason work is in bold. Before you spam various big name organizations with copy paste versions of your resume and cover letter, think a little about what that says about you as a worker. Copy paste workers are a dime a dozen. Your prospective employee could just as easily outsource the workinternationally and probably receive the same quality he could expect from you. Follow a few simple rules to make yourself infinitely more attractive from the start
Show interest by knowing a little bit about the company you’re visiting. You don’t have to recite their quarterly reports or memorize the company’s mission statement, but knowing about recent news exposure and its impact on the company shows you really want to work at this place.
Show initiative by coming to your interview prepared with ideas that relate to the position you’re applying for. Be prepared to sketch out how you would implement this idea, and if you get in over your head, say you would be excited to further explore the idea as an employee of the company.
Show examples of your previous work, even if it is not 100% related to the job. Any physical example of good work is infinitely better than leaving the emloyee with a simple resume that will get lost in their stack of applications. A nice little bundle of examples will physically make your resume stand out (think magazine in a pile of printer paper) and make a far better impression.
Show self awareness by answering questions straight and to the point. Embellishments are fine, but make sure you don’t dance your waz around a question in what you think is a clever trick of conversation. The people interviewing you will see right through your bull and you can expect to have a short interview if you maintain this position throughout an interview.
Stay humble under all circumstances. The last thing you want to do is give your potential employer the impression that you think you’re the ultimate employee. ALL interns have adjustment/learning periods and can’t possibly expect to do a job the way someone who’s worked even just a year in the field could. Share your excitement about learning and go from there.
Interviewing is not difficult, it’s all about pitching yourself in the best light possible while maintaining perspective on who you are and what your are capable of. Show excitement, interest, and your capabilities and you’ll be golden.
One of the most difficult aspects of working at an internship, especially if it’s your first, is the fact that you have to filter out a myriad of distractions that incessantly threaten your focus. Luckily for many of us, 80% to 90% of these distractions stem from the mother of all Catch-22s, our computers. Social networking sites, video portals, and bookmarking services are the bane of any curious intern’s concentration. It’s important to come to terms with and get a grip on our weakness and take some preparatory measures.
Keep track of your daily activities– Whenever you hop off the task you’re currently working on to check out a status update, drill down a tweet, or follow a link in an email, take a note of how long you spend doing so. There are time management applications such as RescueTime or TimeSnapper that keep a record of your computer activity and allow you to track just how much time you are wasting.
When knowing isn’t enough- If knowing that you’re wasting 1.5 to 2 hours on Facebook on a daily basis isn’t enough to motivate a change, consider a url blocker that keeps you from visiting those sites during certain hours. CNet offers a wide variety of blockers meant for protecting kids from exposed genitalia which can handily be applied to blocking the sites that suck up most of your productive day.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize- Last but quite the opposite of least, make sure you prioritize any task that is assigned to you and make sure that you move through your prioritized list in an organized, logical way. It can be a real pain for those of us used to doing things on the fly, but will utimately help you avoid embarassing incidents of forgotting an important task or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Getting used to a working routine can take a lot of time, and sometimes takes several internships to fully grasp. Don’t beat yourself and focus on what’s important: you’re there to learn. The rest will come on its own, or I will stumble across the same situation and blog about it. Good day.