Heather Huhman (@heatherhuhman) and I (@internqueen) recently hosted the second #InternChat on Twitter. Here is a brief summary of what was discussed:
Q1: Is there anything specific that I can do to stand out on my resume?
@InternQueen: Check out the http://www.visualcv.com – a great way to go above and beyond your paper resume
@heatherhuhman: There are a ton of things you can do — starting with highlighting any related past exp, focusing on accomplishments
@InternQueen: if a company has several openings – put an objective on the resume so they aren’t left guessing what u r applying for
@InternQueen: Agree w/@heatherhuhman also – if you don’t have too much past experience – highlight relevant coursework
@heatherhuhman: Ha ha, I see that @InternQueen & I disagree about objective statements! To me, they talk about you, not the employer.
@InternQueen: @heatherhuhman Yes objectives can be ok can be not–so–ok – I think it depends on the purpose of it
@heatherhuhman: Remember, the purpose of your resume is to land you an interview, *not* land you an internship/job. It’s a sales document.
@InternQueen: Make sure that your resume fonts/sizes/tendency to underline words is consistent – switching fonts appears sloppy
Q2: Is a cover letter required if the organization doesn’t ask for one in the internship description?
@InternQueen: Send in a cover letter – even if they don’t require one – and customize it – please !
@heatherhuhman: Cover letters serve, IMHO, a completely different purpose than resumes. While not required, I think they give you an advantage.
@heatherhuhman: Cover letters are short, narrative success stories — what you’ve done in the past & how you can repeat success.
@InternQueen: keep your cover letters to one page – a good cover letter is a great read – a novel is another story
Q3: If you’re in a sorority, should you list which one you are in, or can that cause some prejudices?
@heatherhuhman: To me, *memberships* alone don’t weigh a whole lot. I want to know you were an active leader — & again, the results.
@InternQueen: if you are listing extra-cirricular activities – I think its fine to list the sorority name – its very common
@InternQueen: if u r an active leader in ur sorority -talk about events u’ve put together and goals u’ve accomplished during an interview
@heatherhuhman: If anything, I think being part of a certain sorority would work out in your favor — might connect to the hiring manager.
@InternQueen: A sorority is gr8 networking when u know the location where u want to intern – see if there is an alumni chapter in the area
Q4: How do I compare internships & evaluate which opportunity is right for me?
@heatherhuhman: Before you begin searching, I recommend making a list of what would make your ideal internship. Know what you want/need.
@heatherhuhman: Then, when you’re applying & interviewing, compare the internships back against your list!
@InternQueen: Ask your potential employer to describe what your daily responsibilities would entail – envision yourself in the position
@heatherhuhman: I agree w/@InternQueen — your decision *should* be mostly based on what you would be doing. Quality is important.
@InternQueen: Make sure you read the entire internship description before applying – also go on the website and educate yourself
@InternQueen: Don’t always go for the “big name” companies – again, read the description – know what you are getting urself into
@heatherhuhman: @InternQueen makes another great point — smaller orgs & nonprofits have a lot to offer, too! Don’t beeline toward brands.
Q5: Once you get rejected a few times, how to you stay positive and actually land something?
@heatherhuhman: Remaining positive is *so* important! Negative attitudes come across in everything you do — from writing to interviewing.
@InternQueen: No one will turn rejections into a positive for u – u have to do it yourself – use each as motivation to continue ur search
@heatherhuhman: I recommend getting into an exercise routine — working out helps you lose the stress & makes you feel good.
@InternQueen: Save your rejection letters – your acceptance letters will be that much sweeter !
@heatherhuhman: Definitely celebrate the small wins — interviews, updates on your application status, etc.
@heatherhuhman: And being rejected can be positive — helps you learn what you did “wrong” & maybe it wasn’t the place for you!
Q6: When do you think it’s too late to apply for internships? What if I haven’t heard a “yes” by May?
@heatherhuhman: Keep applying — or just straight volunteer at a nonprofit or other org that could benefit from your skills. Never too late!
@InternQueen: If u can find someone without an established program – u can apply until July -most structured programs will choose by May 1
@InternQueen: Most Spring internships end in Mid-April – employers will choose their new interns right after if they don’t choose earlier
@heatherhuhman: You can also start thinking ahead to the fall. What can you work in with your school schedule?
@heatherhuhman: Basically, don’t be afraid of the fall internships! They are less competitive & still give the same great experience.
Q7: What are the challenges associated with virtual internships?
@heatherhuhman: Virtual internships are *not* for everyone. I recommend them to upper classmen who’ve worked in office environments before.
@InternQueen: For virtual internships u must have heavy self-discipline – its just you and your computer/phone-just like working from home
@heatherhuhman: Also, not all orgs are prepared for virtual interns. Watch out for the warning signs: http://bit.ly/bZltDj
Q8: How early should I start thinking about internships? Is the early work experience worth risking my GPA?
@heatherhuhman: Earlier = better IMHO. There are so many benefits to internships, including figuring out what you *don’t* want to do.
@InternQueen: With the right focus and prep you can manage an internship and schoolwork and your GPA doesn’t need to go down
@InternQueen: Most internships (especially during school year) only require 10-15 hours per week. This is doable !
Q9: What is one thing I should do in the next week or two to help me land an internship?
@heatherhuhman: Definitely get your application (CL/resume/online portfolio) in order. And clean up your online reputation!
@heatherhuhman: If you haven’t already, start networking! 80% of jobs are landed via networking — same goes for internships.
@InternQueen: Start applying. Pick a two hour time block. Sit down and apply for internships !! Good luck
To review the entire transcript, click here.
To participate in #InternChat, log onto Twitter at 7 p.m. Eastern Time every other Tuesday starting March 16, 2010, and ask any question you have about the internship process. Make sure to add the #InternChat hashtag at the end of each comment/question that you write. Can’t join or want your question(s) to remain anonymous? Submit them here. The next #InternChat will take place on April 16, 2010.