There’s a lot of competition for internships…now more than ever. Preparation is key to being the intern chosen. Do your homework now.
Study after study, case after case, data after data all show that internships increase your chances of being hired by an employer. By how much? One recent study of graduates who had done internships showed that:
- 98 percent were either employed, studying onwards or in the military.
- 90 percent said that they were working in their field of study.
- 53 percent credited their internships with their current employment.
Makes sense to do an internship, even a virtual one, right?
Having the right answers to these 5 questions will give you the edge you need.
What’s your skill set?
What are you bringing to the internship? How well do your skills fit the position you are interviewing for?
No matter what you know and how good you are at it, if your skill set does not match your internship position, you are not going to give much value to your employer. Employers are ready to spend some time training you, but they are not looking to start at square one.
Make sure that your skill set matches the one needed for the internship position you are interested in.
Are you a team player?
How well will you be able to fit in and get along with these people?
Ask yourself how able you are to cope with team members who…
- criticize, rather than support;
- are quick to take credit for your work;
- have a different communication style than yours;
- belong to a different cultural community than you do.
During the interview, ask questions about your internship team to increase the chances of a good fit.
What are your future plans?
Since many employers hire their interns after the internship, they are going to be interested in interns that have more future potential. They want to feel that there is going to be long-term ROI on their internship efforts.
Are you thinking of changing careers after this internship?
Is this internship a springboard towards becoming an independent entrepreneur?
Consider the future value you are offering your employer. Is your internship with them a “one and done” or would you seriously consider working there full- or part-time?
Choose internship positions at organizations which have some future interest for you.
How do you spend your non-school time?
Your academic grades are important, sure, but they do not tell the whole story of who you are.
Employers are going to want to know about your commitment, self-motivation, and who you are socially. They may ask you questions such as:
What other activities/hobbies/responsibilities do you have (or did you have)?
Do/did you volunteer?
Are/were you fully or partly responsible for caring for a person or a pet?
Have you been employed anywhere before?
Be ready for these questions with a list of names and dates.
What’s your “grit factor?”
If you do not know what we mean by “grit” in this context, invest a worthwhile six minutes watching this TED talk. Then, take a few minutes to complete her questionnaire: online (no need to give any personal information) or download the PDF.
How gritty are you?
If your score was not that high, look at the Grit Scale items which were challenging for you. Take steps to change your behavior to be more gritty.
Have some of these shaken you up slightly?
That’s good. It means you can better prepare yourself to ace that internship interview.
Don’t think you have much to work on?
That’s good, too. Now that you have checked your readiness, go out there, and get it!