#InternChat Recap Week 1

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional

#InternChat Recap Week 1

Lauren Berger (@InternQueen) and (@heatherhuhman) hosted the first #InternChat on Twitter this week. Here is a brief summary of what was discussed:

Q1: So many internships are unpaid. How can I afford to take an unpaid internship?

@heatherhuhman: Discuss your situation with the employer — work out a schedule that allows you to take the unpaid internship & a paying gig

@mecheer11: Work a paid part time job & then do a part time unpaid internship. that way you get experience & money to live on.

@LMSandelin: Took an unpaid internship w/ a company I loved. Wasn’t easy funds-wise, but was worth it when it comes to experience gained.

Q2: What makes a candidate stand out in this competitive internship market?

@heatherhuhman: It depends on the field, of course, but I would say: passion, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and leadership qualities.

@CornOnTheJob: Previous internship experience is huge. If none, then a strong resume that includes tons of leadership positions.

@kshoutz: I think taking initiative and being a self-starter are qualities everyone looks for.

@CornOnTheJob: I always remembered interns who were strong and confident in their approach. Don’t be afraid to contact me directly.

@heatherhuhman: Follow-up is also huge in landing any position. Always follow-up at every stage of hiring process.

@InternQueen: I suggest using the cover letter to speak about a specific time personally or professionally where you were a leader

Q3: What interview questions are employers always asking?

@CornOnTheJob: For internship level positions I always asked directly about their leadership experience plus collaboration work in class

@linzlovesyou: What’s 1 situation you showed problem solving abilities and how’d you resolve the issue?

@CornOnTheJob: I asked if they knew what their ideal company would be, and why?

@heatherhuhman: Lot of ol’ stand-bys: Why should I hire you? What is your greatest strength/weakness?

@Alliebrwneyez: Why did you join this field or decide to study for this degree?

@valerieeann: I was just asked “How will you know at the end that this internship was a success? How will I (the interviewer) know?”

@heatherhuhman: I also ask about your biggest challenge & how you overcame it, a time you made a mistake & how you corrected it…

Q4: How do I turn my internship into a full-time job?

@heatherhuhman: First, do great work. Always go above & beyond. Be the first to volunteer. As Seth Godin says, become a linchpin.

@CornOnTheJob: ASK! Don’t be afraid to ask your manage, or person that recruits you.

@InternQueen: Turn your internship into a full-time job by meeting as many people as possible and tapping into their networks post grad

Q5: Is it better to show diversity or consistency when it comes to types of internships completed?

@heatherhuhman: I would say a little of both. Chances are you can be diverse within your industry, yet consistent to the industry itself.

@CornOnTheJob: Depends. If you don’t know what you want, then diversity. If you do know what you want, then consistency.

@InternQueen: people do want to see you are well rounded but make sure you don’t seem “all over the place

Q6: How often should I keep in touch with people from past internships to continue networking?

@InternQueen: Keep in touch with internship coordinators once per semester

@heatherhuhman: I would touch base with all of your networking contacts at least once a quarter — more often if you can keep up with it

@CornOnTheJob: Keep in touch with them often. Don’t set up a schedule. Don’t annoy (not every week), but reach out and be genuine

@InternQueen: Make sure you walk the line between being annoying and persistent – it can be difficult

Q7: Should you make it a point to point out that an internship was a paid one on your resume?

@InternQueen: I don’t think you should. However, if they ask – tell them of course

@heatherhuhman: IMHO, whether or not you were paid for your experience doesn’t make a diff on your resume.

@CornOnTheJob: Doesn’t matter if it was paid or not. Some companies will pay you more if it is your 2nd or 3rd internship and they may ask.

@heatherhuhman: In fact, there are plenty of unpaid exp that can add to your resume — class projects, leadership positions, etc.

Q8: As a college grad, is it unreasonable to accept only a paid internship?

@heatherhuhman: Here’s my take: Would you rather have a gap in your resume while you hunt for a paid position, or take the unpaid one?

@CornOnTheJob: I’m torn on this… I think it depends on industry + experience. If zero experience or education, then its only option.

@heatherhuhman: Agree with @LindsayNK9 that full-time unpaid is completely unreasonable. Don’t get yourself in that situation. SCHEDULE!

@InternQueen: It depends on the industry if u are in finance/accounting you can find a paid internship -other industries might not be easy

@heatherhuhman: Never close a door on an opportunity. You just don’t know where it will lead.

@InternQueen: You can find flexible unpaid internships that will work around your busy/part-time job schedule

Q9: How much time should you give a mentor/boss for a recommendation letter? What should you include?

@heatherhuhman: Think about what hiring managers want to know — what you did, how well you did it, what your strengths/weaknesses are…

@InternQueen: I would give ur boss 2 weeks 4 the letter of rec u want them to write something that makes someone want to hire u

@CornOnTheJob: Dont give them too much time (months). Most people will wait till a week or two to start writing it anyway

@heatherhuhman: And most importantly, would the employer hire you again in a similar position if given the opportunity.

@carriekerpen: Consider writing some points that u want the mentor to focus on. Makes it easier to write a personalized recco

@heatherhuhman: Put your letters of rec / testimonials up on your online portfolio. As a hiring manager, I know I always go to that section!

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 might 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.