By Jennifer Choi
There are many steps during the internship application and interview process. And since this is the time of year that hordes of students are looking for fall internships, here are a few tips on how to land an internship at a major network.
First, do research and figure out which internship works best for you. Your school career advisor can provide you with a list of possible internships, or you can go online and search for the networks’ websites. Companies offer internships in various departments, so read the descriptions and choose those that will best showcase your talent.
Then create an effective cover letter and resume. Make sure to place pertinent information such as the term during which you wish to intern and the desired department in the first paragraph of your cover letter. Adding a description of yourself in the following paragraph, such as your qualities and accomplishments, is also a good idea. This makes it easy for the internship coordinator to see who you are. Including a list of related coursework in your resume will help the coordinator see how your acquired skills will help you perform your duties as an intern.
And if you were referred by someone, include that in the cover letter. “It’s not always what you know but whom you know,” said Stacey Halio, the News 12 internship coordinator.
Once you’ve submitted your cover letter and resume, make a follow-up phone call to make sure your application has been received. Taking the time to make this call shows that you are truly interested in the position. “Using the phone is better than writing an email because emails can often come off as being passive,” Halio said. If you decide to write an email, make it professional.
When you have successfully set up an interview, make sure to bring a copy of your resume even if you think the interviewer already has one. Be on time, maybe even five to 10 minutes early. The goal is to show that this interview is important to you without appearing overly eager. “And don’t ever be late to an interview,” advised Brenna McLoughlin (cq), the internship coordinator for Modern Bride and Elegant Bride.
During the interview, be upbeat and enthusiastic, and engage in conversation even if it’s a group interview. Ask questions to show that you’re really interested in that particular internship. Dress professionally, Halio said, and “don’t ever wear flip flops, even if they’re at the peak of fashion.” McLoughlin agreed and said, “Don’t take business casual to the casual extreme.”
When answering questions during an interview, be bold and confident. Your answers should demonstrate your willingness to learn and your desire to be there. Mira Lowe (cq), the director of internships at Newsday, said students should also ask questions about the type of assignments given to interns, the expectations of supervisors and the culture of the network.
“You can also ask about how many interns have become full time staffers because many get hired right away,” Lowe said.
After the interview, send a thank you note by either email or regular mail. When waiting for the acceptance letter, be patient. You can follow up to see how things are moving along, but don’t overdo it. If you have to leave a message, leave your full name and phone number. If you don’t get a response within a few days, you can call back to make sure that your message has been delivered, but don’t go overboard by calling day after day.
It might be a while before you receive any sign of acceptance, but be patient and make sure you’re not too aggressive when you do call to check up on your status. Halio said one student called once a day for a week after being told that the letters will probably arrive during that week. “I already knew during the interview that he wasn’t right for the internship, but even if I had any doubt, his aggressiveness ruined any chance he might’ve had.”
So follow these steps to land the internship you desire. And after you do, you can tell the next person in line how to land an internship at a major network.