Landing an internship is important step to every college student and can become quite stressful. Our #universitychat this week focused on what’s important to students when looking for an internship and what personal tips they have for the internship search.
How do you typically go about finding an internship?
Our students almost all start at their respective career services centers. These places are great because there are a lot of options of industries and types of internships, plus many career services centers offer resume critiques and mock interviews! Also, internship opportunities forwarded to you through organizations are a great way to get contacts. Companies send these emails because they want to recruit students who participate on campus in worthy organizations and many students don’t take advantage of these opportunities!
*UQ TIP: Networking is key. Don’t be afraid to ask your contacts (professional or personal) for help finding an internship.
What’s most important to you when choosing an internship?
First and foremost, our students want internships that relate to their majors or intended career fields. Hands-on experience and the ability to make a meaningful impact on the company are also important.
*UQ TIP: Don’t choose an internship solely because you think it will “look good” on your resume. The experience and skills you gain are going to be what’s valuable in the long run, not that you spent the summer working at the largest corporation in the world fetching coffee.
What do you expect to learn in an internship (regardless of industry)?
Students want to learn in an internship what they can’t in the classroom. Field experience is important to be able to apply the skills learning in the classroom to real-life experiences.
*UQ TIP: In an interview, ask questions about what past interns have done. This way, you can get a good feel for what your responsibilities might be and if the internship is a good fit!
How do you define a “good” boss? What qualities does that person have?
Across the board, our students defined a good boss as one who is authoritative, helpful, knowledgeable, dedicated, and most importantly, accessible.
*UQ TIP: A good boss should take the time to mentor and teach you. It’s a two-way street: if you want to be mentored, take the time to express that to your boss and he or she will most likely reciprocate.
Would you rather have a paid internship at a boring company, or an unpaid internship at a cool company? Why?
Our students all chose an unpaid internship at a cool company. They cited how passion, experience, and learning from relatable people can all benefit your career in the long run.
*UQ TIP: Choose an internship for the experience you will gain, not the money you will make.
Would you rather intern for a large corporate company or an up and coming startup? Why?
The question was split down the middle. Smaller startups may provide more opportunity to impact the business, but a large corporation could give you more room to get a full-time position post-internship.
*UQ TIP: Both types of companies have their benefits. A corporation will most likely have a more structured intern program, whereas a startup will allow for more flexibility. If possible, get experience with both types in order to make an informed decision as to where your personality best fits.
What advice would you give to someone looking for his or her first internship?
The resounding advice for this question was to be persistent! University career services centers can be extremely helpful and might even put you in contact with alumni at a company you are looking into.
*UQ TIP: Set a goal to apply to a certain number of jobs a day. By splitting your applications into a reasonable number and making it a part of your daily return, the applying process will become less stressful.
What’s the most difficult question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?
A few favorites from our students:
- What type of animal would you choose to describe yourself?
- Have you worked with someone you didn’t get along with and if so how did you handle it?
- What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?
*UQ TIP: Don’t fret over hard questions – they’re meant to show an interviewer how well you think on your feet. Take a few seconds to breathe and compose your answer, and back up whatever you say.
Thanks to all of the students who joined us for #universitychat this week! Next #universitychat is Tuesday, April 2 at 9pm EST on Twitter. To join, follow the hashtag #universitychat.