As a senior in college, I feel it is my duty to share with underclassmen tips that have contributed to my success. As a journalism and political science double major, I have been fortunate to acquire several internships which have given me experience in all of my areas of interest. Last fall, I did a broadcast journalism internship at ABC affiliate KXXV News Channel 25 in Waco. They kept me on as an online news intern the following spring semester, while I was also an intern reporter for The Belton Journal.
At the beginning of this semester, I interned for a short time with Texas gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign, and recently accepted a position as a congressional intern in Congressman John Carter’s Bell County district office for the spring.
Students sometimes become discouraged when they send in an application and don’t receive a response the next day. Don’t let that dissuade you. Sometimes employers and internship coordinators are looking for that one applicant who will send a respectful follow-up email requesting an interview. This shows him or her that you are proactive and will likely exhibit the same spirit of tenacity while working on assignments or projects. Also, if there is no formal internship program, if you present yourself well, a company or organization might create one for you. Who wants to turn down free help?
Don’t be afraid to keep the dialogue going once you get a response. A word of caution, though: Learn to strike that healthy balance between proactive and obnoxious.
Professionalism. You probably guessed that was one of the “P”s, right? Although it sounds cliché, what does it look like? Here’s an example. When I arrived at my last interview, I was clean shaven and dressed in a suit. The internship coordinator said that simply based on my personal appearance I would likely be offered the position.
The appearance of your resume is important too. Endeavor to make it look elegant, but simple. Reflective of your personality. Check it for grammar and spelling. Have someone else read it as well.
In addition to appearance, be a thoughtful person of good, upstanding character. One way to do this is through communication. I ran into traffic on the way to my interview, which was in Round Rock. Right in front of the Premium Outlets, there was a classic I-35 traffic jam. I called ahead and told the woman who interviewed me I was going to be late. When I arrived, she said my communication skills “spoke volumes,” to my character.
When in the interview, be positive. Smile. When the internship coordinator welcomes you into his or her office, say, “I’m happy to be here.” Exude confidence. This will make both you and the interviewer feel at ease.
If he or she asks if you can perform a task in an area where you might lack skill, be honest, but quickly say, “It would be no problem to learn.” Relax. No one is expecting you to have tons of experience in your field. That’s why you want an internship.
Many times students feel as though they are drowning in a bottomless sea of internet search terms as they wade through the seemingly endless application process. Sure, that fashion reporting internship in New York with Vogue that has thousands of applicants would be great, but apply to places close to home too. Many times, finances are a factor. If you get an out-of-town internship, can you afford to live there? Is it paid? Also, make sure you give yourself a variety options so you don’t make it to your senior year and wish you hadn’t been so picky.The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Career Services Center provides assistance to both undergraduate and graduate students in career development and preparation endeavors. Stop by for more information on achieving your career success.