Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wish to land the Intern Job?

Apparently cheap labor isn't being spared any more than expensive labor in this recent economic downturn. Hiring of interns were seen to be down nearly last year, and co-op hiring, where a student signs on for an intern-type job for, say, six months, will probably also drop coming period.

If you're vying for one of those school holiday positions, there are ways to get ahead of the pack. Most important: When hunting for opportunities, make the most of your school's career services office and notice activity boards—however never rely fully on them.

Make a list of the companies you'd like to intern at and figure out what kind of industry they belong to and which are those of your first interest. Reach out to your professors, family and friends to see if they can recommend company contacts. When you identify a contact, have your mutual acquaintance make an introduction and ask if the contact knows who the hiring manager is for the department you'd like to work in. Also, ask if that department has employed interns in the past, and what kind of work they did.

Resumes or CVs’ referred by in-house employees often get first consideration.

If you don't know anyone in house, use resources such as LinkedIn, or just call the company to figure out who the manager is in the department you'd like to intern in. Direct your CV to that manager or GM in-charge--in addition to sending it to the human resources department.

Learn as much about every company as possible, and tailor your CV and cover letter to each. Tell how your past experience in school or uni has prepared you to help the firm achieve its goals. Managers conducting interview will understand that as a student you may not have professional experience, so discuss your time spent on part-time jobs or in leadership groups in campus organizations. Show them your leadership skills learnt during those activity groups.

Do not show during interview your dislikes or your disinterest in some activities that are related to the working organization.

Once you've landed an interview, prepare thoroughly by again researching the company, its products and its clients. Also, run through practice questions with a friend or someone in career services.

In some cases, the interview could be conducted over the phone as some companies don't usually pay to bring intern candidates from afar into their offices. If it is, you need to be sure to convey your enthusiasm. One way to do that over the phone, is by laughing ( not too over-react ) as you talk, silly though that may sound. It's hard to come across as eager and animated when you're on the phone, but smile or laugh ( a bit ) while you're talking and it will help.

At the end of the interview, ask what the next step is. That will show that you're enthusiastic, and it will also give you a sense of when to follow up in case you don't hear anything for a long time. Send a handwritten or e-mailed thank-you note that points out things you liked about the interview. Also use the note to smooth over any rough patches or weak spots in the interview.

Salary is a touchy subject. If the internship you're most interested in is in the nonprofit sector and getting that experience is more important than getting satisfactory paid, then say up front that you're willing to work with the meagre intern allowance.

If you decide to decline the offer by the company, make sure you give valid and good reasons why you decide not to take the intern job. As this reason would probably be taken into consideration in future should you apply to the same company after some period of time. Good Luck to you, interns.

No comments: