How to stand out at your internship

In my personal experience this past summer, there were 27 interns with the same goal: get that full-time offer!

You may find yourself in a similar situation. There are hundreds of employees at the company you’re at and too many interns, so how are you going to stand out? The reality is, the moment you step into the building, it’s fair game. The interactions you have at the receptionist desk, in the elevator, and in the break room all count. I was in the elevator with the COO once!

Here are some tips to stand out and get your name out there:

  • Ask questions.
    I was lucky to be in a program where we had conferences with several executives of the company. My internship class was fairly quiet, so the HR director was urging us to ask questions. Asking questions really shows your interest in the company, its employees, and its future.

    • This tip doesn’t apply to only conferences. During team meetings and meet-and-greets, ask as many insightful questions as you can. Whether it be a summer, fall, or spring internship, this time period is the only chance to make as many connections as possible and learn more about how the business works.
  • Branch out to other teams.
    An internship is a place to gain experience so interacting with other related teams is not abnormal. Asking other team members to go out to coffee or have a simple meeting to learn more about what that team is doing really shows you’re not afraid to branch out. It also shows you’re not staying comfortably confined in your team either.
  • Keep track of names.
    During the first day of my internship, I had so much trouble keeping track of everyone I was meeting because we had a networking social after work hours. Create a mind map of names, associate names with your friends’ names, take down notes — do whatever you can to remember names. Remembering their names shows that you care. Your coworkers will be pleased that you are interested in them and what they do.
  • Offer to do more than what your job description says.
    Create a reputation of being a go-getter by asking for more work after efficiently completing what was originally tasked. Asking for more work shows you want to gain more hands-on experience in the business and that you’re an initiator.

Good luck at your internship!

Quantifying Your Accomplishments

People like numbers. Why? They’re easy to follow and they stand out from the rest of your text. Also, being able to quantify your accomplishments, such as “increasing utilization of the platform by 150%” sounds a lot fancier than “increased overall utilization of the platform.”

Adding numbers helps the recruiter see how much you have had an impact on the previous organizations you’ve worked at. Even your most seemingly menial experiences such as a customer service representative can seem more attractive and meaningful when adding appropriate statistics.

Here’s an example:

Clothing Company Co.
Retail Associate

  • Improved customer satisfaction by 200% by interacting with customers on their needs, establishing a new sense of customer awareness, and efficiently resolving conflicts
  • Interacted with 50+ customers a day by approaching them when they first enter the store, being aware of when they needed help, and offering assistance with clothing choices
  • Collaborated with other co-workers and supervisors to establish a more efficient working environment

The only way to pull such numbers is by asking for survey feedback or asking your manager for these numbers. Never fabricate these numbers, as interviewers will ask you how you obtained such information.

Last Check-In!

It is the end of the semester and I am very pleased with this blog. I have had my up’s and down’s with this blog, concerning regularly creating posts, but I aim to be consistent when summer begins. My class posts were difficult to create sometimes, as I feel that I had a hard time creating content for them. Nonetheless, they were a pleasure to write about and these assignments forced me to try different sites and software I would have never considered using.

In terms of readers, I have had 489 visits to this blog and 19 comments. The best amount of page views I have received in a day was 83. I never expected my blog to blow up so quickly in its initial stages. These numbers give me hope and drive me to work even harder to make posts.

Making myself known in the crowd

As you already may know, the purpose of my blog is geared towards college students — helping them achieve their job-related goals. There are several job search engine sites and blogs/newsletters out there that are geared towards the career development field and target other groups as well (mid-career, trade school, etc.).

My website “adds to the conversation” because I am targeting specifically college students — my peers — and to help them in their job search and preparation. Hence, my tags not only consist of keywords such as “interviewing” and “resumes,” but also “students,” and “college” as well. Once in a while I will create posts that directly speak to and connect with college students; they will be more than the average “do these 5 things on your resume, doctors will hate you!” kind of posts.

Interestingly enough, I have encountered blogs that also advertise jobs that are geared towards a specific audience. If this blog every grows to be something large, I will consider doing that as well. For now, the resume critiques and simple informative blog posts will be enough.

If my audience does grow to the thousands, I may even have a live-chat or start uploading videos of myself talking that explain my personal experiences. It feels more personal and real to the audience.

Powerpuff myself?

This blog post is one of the more interesting posts I’ve had to write for this class thus far. I thoroughly enjoyed it though — spending the time to carefully make sure if my hair really looked like that when in a ponytail and if my outfits actually matched the ones they provided in the avatar process. I think the franchise did a good job with this website: they provided ample options for facial features (that matched closely with the Powerpuff girls) and creative outfits.

The ending really had me hooked though — I took a short personality test to see what kind of Powerpuff girl I was and couldn’t help but to be happy at the result. Who doesn’t enjoy being fearless?

I took the time to also Peanutize myself as well, to compare the two sites. They had an option to “Snoopytize” myself, and couldn’t help myself but to play around with the large Snoopy.

In all seriousness, I liked how the Peanutize site provided options for a background as well. They also provided ample options for facial and outfit options.

But the Powerpuff site is the winner in my opinion.

In general having such sites where we can become one with the movie or TV show really shows the fans’ love for each franchise.

My most recent interviewing experience

In the past month, I had 2 interviews for 2 different positions for the upcoming 2017-18 year. The first interview I had was about an hour long and consisted of approximately 10 questions. Some of the questions were basic interviewing questions (which are listed here in my FAIQ) while others were definitely a notch up and needed proper prepping beforehand. To be honest, I didn’t do so hot in this interview because I was visibly and audibly nervous, my answers for 2 questions were bs’ed on the spot, and halfway through the interview, I realized I actually didn’t want the position anyway.

Regardless, I view all interview practice as valuable practice. Here are the questions I remember from the first interview:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What makes you a good fit
  3. Why should we hire you
  4. Why do you want this position
  5. Do you have any prior event-planning experience
  6. What are the challenges you anticipate while working this position
  7. How do you recommend going about learning new software
  8. Do you have any ideas for promoting our program
  9. Describe a situation where you had something time sensitive but couldn’t reach out to anyone about it
  10. Describe a situation where you used your interpersonal skills to offer a service

I underlined the questions that I believe will show up in almost all future interviews — these questions can be worded differently, they demonstrate your knowledge in the field, and they make you think on your feet.

I asked for interview feedback about a week after, making sure I knew what TO DO and what NOT TO DO for the next interview, which was only a week away. Here is what the interviewer said:

  • It was obvious that you were nervous. It’s fine though because we expect everyone to be nervous when interviewing.
  • You had all the right answers but there seemed to be a lack of passion for the position. Smiling and being personable is definitely important. It’s understandable that it is difficult to be smiling when you’re very nervous.
  • In terms of your answers, maybe go more in depth about your projects.
  • You had extensive knowledge about the program we offer and about the department.

There were definitely up’s and down’s about this interview, but I patted myself on the back about what went well, and immediately got to work on what I needed to improve. Despite the challenges I faced during my first interview, such as stuttering and being nervous, I was able to kill my next interview and I was able to land the job I wanted! My stuttering was almost nonexistent, except for one moment where I had trouble pronouncing this blog name 🙁 but overall, I was able to demonstrate my knowledge and passion for the position. I also shared ideas that could be used in the future.

My interview prepping tips can be found in a next post sometime soon, so keep a look out for it!

Good luck on your job prepping journey 🙂

CC Usage

For this assignment, it was fairly difficult to find a picture that was relevant for my blog. Most of the “interview” and even “job interview” photos I wanted weren’t the best quality or were even of news reporters interviewing individuals. Utilizing a song or video is also difficult because there are not many songs that would further promote or add to my blog. Derogatory content is also unacceptable for a blog promoting professionalism.

But… without Creative Commons, I wouldn’t be able to use pictures like the one above for my blog freely or without any trouble.

According to the Fair Use checklist created by the Copyright Advisory Office, I am allowed to use this piece of media because:

√ Teaching
√ Important to favored educational objectives
√ Small quantity
√ Portion used is not central or significant
√ Amount is appropriate for favored educational purpose
√ One or few copies made market for copyrighted work or derivative
√ No significant effect on the market

In no way am I attempting to alter this photo. I am also crediting the website it originated from. I firmly believe in using other sources of media that I did not create, as long as I credit the original owner and I am not altering the photo to be offensive.

 

Memeology?

If only Wumbology was real and we could study all things wumbo.

Spongebob memes are probably my all time favorite memes — the images from this show (considering there are so many hilarious and ridiculous facial expressions and body contortions) perfectly complement the text in certain memes.

One meme I feel almost everyone can relate to is:

For me personally, the idea of interviewing skyrockets my anxiety and I can’t concentrate on anything else other than the interview. I also tend to shake and not speak properly when I’m nervous, so I have to add extra self-control when my interviewing. Long story short, I’m a nervous wreck. And during the times when I struggled with depression, bringing myself to interviews and trying not to hide my weak side was a true struggle. It’s completely understandable to feel this way when interviewing — after all, we’re putting ourselves out there and trying to highlight the best part of ourselves, which can be hard when they’re not so obvious to us.

Another meme that is more light-hearted (not really):

Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to find the reasons why we want to work for a specific company other than we want to make money and/or need to fill that extra spot on our resume. I’ve seen this meme shared and liked by thousands of Facebook users, so it’s safe to say that many people feel this lack of connection between their passions and the position they’re interviewing for.

For such serious matters, it’s important to joke around and lighten the atmosphere. Memes like these may add confidence and encouragement to those who are struggling.

How to Promote This Blog via Social Media

Interview prepping isn’t the most snazzy topic for students our age, so reaching my targeted audience is much more difficult than anticipated. In order to gather as many readers as possible, I need to not only promote the blog but also make sure they continue reading.

One main site I recommend is Facebook. Posting this link into your university’s class of 20xx groups, sharing it on various school-related events will reach out to a population that is more interested in developing professional skills. These Facebook groups tend to have thousands of students, so this one post will have at least half of the students viewing this link.

What better way to show prospective employers and your connections your interest in the development of important skills than to post it on your LinkedIn? In this case, you would receive generally positive reactions from your connections. It’s a win-win situation for both the reader and my blog.

The sites I don’t recommend would be Instagram and Twitter. If I were to create graphic design IG posts in the future, then IG is a viable option. However, I would need a much larger following for that to happen. I also don’t see Twitter as a proper place to promote my blog in particular, due to its specific nature.

The Harsh Reality.

When we’re children, we’re told we can become anything we want to, as long as we try our best.

When we’re teenagers in high school, we’re told to treasure our youth, because adulthood is only a few steps away.

When we’re in college, we’re told we need to stand out from the crowd, so we can be acknowledged, seen, and respected.

But, if thousands of college students are being told that they need to stand out, aren’t we just a part of the crowd? What will we need to do in order to be unique, to be apart from those who are already doing so? How do we achieve your goals when trying our best just doesn’t cut it, and how do we balance this transition from being kids to… adults?

Our lives as college students are incredibly difficult because we are not only juggling between school, work, personal life, and social life but also finding our places in the world and where we belong. The last thing we want to think about is jobs because they signify a journey from the classroom to an office. And as humans living in this fast-paced, digital world, instant gratification is what we want. Oftentimes, the goal is in our mind and not the path to getting there.

The journey is incredibly important, however, and cannot be looked over. I hope that I can guide my peers through this journey with the advice that I have from my experiences and the experiences I hear from others as well.

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