Tales of a summer intern: Landing the internship

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Ed. Note: This summer you’ll be reading some posts from Meghan Delaney, CareerBuilder’s social media intern. She’ll be sharing her experience as a young job seeker and as a recent graduate who is establishing herself in the working world. Today’s post is the first in a six-part series.

There’s always that point in the school year when summer begins to quickly close in. The weeks and months of telling parents that “It’s too early to apply for anything” are long gone, and the anxiety of finding an internship or job for the summer begins to settle in. However, that looming job cloud becomes a lot more ominous when it’s Senior year. I went through every emotion possible as my school year and college career began to wind down – panic, excitement, anticipation, fear – I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

After completing four internships during my college years, I was certain that finding a full-time job would be a breeze. Well, I quickly found that this was certainly not the case.  Competition for entry-level jobs was, and still is, fierce. I knew I wanted to move to Chicago, but networking and landing interviews was difficult due to the fact that I was still at school in North Carolina. After skipping my final spring break (a very painful decision at the time) to make a networking trip to Chicago, I wound up extremely discouraged when I left, still job-less. This was when it clicked that I needed to really get motivated.

I looked online, sent out emails, scheduled informational interviews with dozens of people, and,  most importantly, I talked to my friends. I kept in touch with a good friend of mine from my internship last summer. I updated him often on my job search, and in return he kept me in mind when he came across opportunities he thought would make a good fit for me. Low and behold, he brought this opportunity to my attention, and I was interviewed about one week after applying. Before long, I was asked if I could do an in-person interview in Chicago, which was a bit of a problem for me, being in North Carolina. Through networking, I found this position at CareerBuilder as their Social Media Intern.

Long-distance interviewing
So what do you do when you’re hundreds of miles away from a great company who asks you to do an in-person interview? Well, you either hop on a train, plane or automobile, or of course, you take advantage of modern technology. Online video chats may seem like an automatic disadvantage for the interviewee, however that doesn’t have to be the case.  Treat the virtual interview just like a normal one: wear nice clothes and look presentable, get plenty of sleep the night before and be personable. Try to pretend like the screen doesn’t exist and the interviewer is right in front of you. And most importantly, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed – you don’t want a group of your friends conversing in the background about memories from the weekend! Though it may not feel as formal, your interviewer is taking it as seriously as if you were right in their office, so make sure you do too.

After getting through a couple “face-to-face” interviews, I was offered the position for the summer. Though I had already done plenty of daydreaming about an incredibly lazy summer, filling my days with laying on the beach and mid-afternoon naps, I knew that this was an opportunity I couldn’t possibly turn down.

Why an internship
Through my past and present experience, I have found that internships are incredibly valuable, whether they’re paid or not. What internships do is make recruiters and employers take a second look at you and know that you will be able to bring something to the table if hired. An internship is a great time to learn a ton, build your confidence for the next opportunity, and learn from any mistakes you make. Plus, it’s the best way to start building your résumé right now. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and the quicker you have “real world” work experience to put on there, the sooner someone will realize that you’re worth being snatched up.

Looking for internship opportunities? Visit our niche site CareerRookie.com.

  1. Nice post, Meghan. As someone who also wanted a job in a city not too close to where I went to school, I’ve had my share of video interviews. They can be frustrating because I always feel like I’d make a better impression in person, but with your tips, it seems like you’re in the room with the person who is interviewing you. Hope you’re having a good summer at Career Builder!

  2. Welcome to Chicago! It’s a fun city so be sure to explore as much as possible. Best of luck to you during your time at CareerBuilder!

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