Next week is your first interview for a summer internship, and the last-minute jitters have set in. Relax! Your prospective employer has set up the interview because he or she is interested in you and wants to hear more about you and your skills. This is your chance to make yourself shine and land an exciting opportunity.
Rule #1: Come prepared or don’t come at all
Before you set out for your interview, do some research on the company. Find out about their product or services, major competitors, philosophy, history, and size. Just like your college search, you want to know what you are getting into. Not to mention the fact that the interviewer will be very impressed with your knowledge of their company.
You should also do a self-assessment prior to arriving at the interview session. Look over your résumé and be able to explain your interests, abilities, experiences, and values as they relate to the job. Be prepared for the ambiguous first question: “So, tell me about yourself.”
Rule #2: Practice, practice, practice
Find a family member, friend, or career counselor to role-play an interview with you. Go over some frequently asked interview questions, which you can find at the career counseling office at school. Here’s a short list of common questions you will be asked, but you should also come with some questions for the interviewer:
- Why are you interested in working at this company?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What did you like and dislike about your last job?
Rule #3: Dress to impress
Buff up dad’s old wing-tipped shoes, break out your graduation suit, and head to the barbershop because it is almost interview day! No, seriously. You will need to look alert and well groomed, so get to bed early the night before and get up early in the morning to shower, groom yourself, and shine your shoes.
Rule #4: Close the deal
While you are in the interview, collect business cards from everyone you meet with that day. Once you get back home, you should write a thank-you note to each individual person, recognizing that they took time out of their busy day to meet with you. Show your appreciation and express how interested you are in the position.
If you follow these simple rules, you will be well on your way to landing the job of your dreams!
Carlin Carr is pursuing postgraduate studies at the University of Mumbai, India, on a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship. She received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and her master’s degree from the National University of Ireland.