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.