With class, extracurricular activities and social events filling your calendar, searching for a summer internship probably isn’t on the top of your to-do list. After all, the fall semester just got underway! But according to Amanda Snow, manager of PNC Campus Recruiting, you should act now to set yourself up for success.
Many companies hire for their summer internship programs in the fall, so it is never too early to start looking for your next opportunity. To get started, visit your school’s career center. Many colleges offer free resources, including resume workshops, career planning, leadership programs and assistance with job or internship searches.
The career office may also provide access to your alumni network – perhaps the most valuable resource of all. As you will hear time and again, who you know can be as important as what you know, so never stop building your network. Take advantage of tools like LinkedIn to connect with professionals and to ask questions about the work that they do.
You should also be looking online to see what companies might be a good fit for you in terms of their industry, culture and opportunities. A company website can be the best place to find that information and to explore internship or entry-level positions.
Once you’ve landed an interview, preparation is key. Here are a few interview tips from Amanda to set you on the right path:
- Start strong: You have one chance to make a first impression. Arrive at least 15 minutes early, make eye contact, smile and offer a firm handshake.
- Know yourself: Know your resume, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, and have a good story to tell – after all, it’s yours!
- Know the company: Do your homework and prepare at least three questions about the company, the position to which you are applying and/or your interviewer.
- Be authentic: Don’t embellish your experience or try to be someone you’re not. Honesty and transparency are not optional and help ensure that you receive the most appropriate offer.
- Make eye contact: Maintain appropriate eye contact throughout your interview to appear confident and interested in the position to which you are applying.
- Have a point of view but not all views: While it’s important to have and express an opinion, a little humility can go a long way. Express your thoughts tactfully if and when appropriate.
- Dress your best: Wear a suit to feel and appear confident and professional. Also, swap out bright colors, distracting patterns and big jewelry for neutral tones and tasteful accessories.
- Leave a good impression: Before your interview comes to a close, ask about next steps, offer a firm handshake and thank your interviewer for speaking with you. Follow up with an email or hand- written “thank you” and be careful to express interest – not desperation.
Good luck in the 2013-2014 school year and beyond. To learn more about PNC’s careers and culture, please visit us online.