Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door at a company of interest. The process is not always easy, so it's important to know what you're getting into! Here are some tips on how to prepare for an interview. Keep reading for more information about key topics like resume preparation, interview questions, and follow-up with potential employers.
Research the company and prepare questions to ask.
Researching what a company does and its culture will help you prepare for an interview. Knowing more about the organization will also make you more confident when interviewing with them. What should I ask during an interview? With so many questions to choose from, it can be difficult to know which ones are appropriate for your interview. To simplify things, consider asking questions that address three areas: 1) What makes this position unique or appealing?, 2) What is the most important quality in a person who would excel in this role?, and 3) What skills do you think someone needs in order to be successful here?
Dress professionally for the interview.
You will want to dress professionally for your internship interview so that it shows off the best of yourself. A good outfit is one where you feel comfortable and confident, but also professional at all times! For some people a suit may work well with their company culture or image because they believe it’s what's expected from them as part of an organization - however there are many other ways one could go about dressing appropriately depending on his/her own personal style preferences.
Bring a resume with you, as well as any other relevant information such as your degree or work experience.
Interviewers will ask you to bring your resume with you to the interview for reference, so be sure to have it ready. If you have already applied for a job with the company, be sure to bring along any other information that's relevant to the interview. This could include promotional material or articles written by yourself or others about your potential employer. If you have examples of previous work (school projects, previous internships) that would be relevant to this job, bring those as well.
Prepare answers to common interview questions like "What are your strengths?" and "What is your greatest weakness?"
You are likely to be asked many questions during your interview, so it's best if you have answers prepared for common ones. For example, the strength question might go something like this: "What are some things about yourself that would make a good fit at our company?" There may also come up an opportunity where they want feedback on what weaknesses or flaws could use improvement. Use this as an opportunity to highlight areas where you want to explore professional development. “I’ve started taking courses on Microsoft Excel” is a much better response than “I’m not much of a morning person.”
Find out about the company's culture on social media before going in person - this will help you make a better impression on potential employers.
As an intern, it is important to understand what is expected of you and how your work will be evaluated. Finding this information online can help you prepare for the interview so that you come off as knowledgeable and confident. Search social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to find the latest news about the company. Look at reviews on sites like Glassdoor or Reddit to get a better sense of their corporate culture. And (this one should be obvious) visit their website and look through their blog/about page to learn more about their products and corporate values.
Send a follow-up email after the interview thanking them for their time, reminding them of your strengths, and reiterating your interest in the internship.
After your interview, you should send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time and letting them know that you're looking forward to hearing back from them. It's important to keep in touch with the employer after an interview because they might have forgotten about you or aren't sure when exactly they'll be making a decision. In this case, sending a follow up email can help refresh their memory and show your interest in getting the job!
An internship is a great way to learn more about an organization or industry you may want to work in. Not only will it help you learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, but it can also give you some valuable experience and connections that may come in handy down the line. It's important to know what you're getting into before applying for any position though and you won’t be able to land the internship if you don’t ace the interview! Get more best practices on interviewing for your first internship AND earn free certificates to add to your resume by creating a free account at WorkforceReady.org.