I have been interning for Lauren Berger, the CEO of Intern Queen Inc., for the past six months. Next week will be my last week interning so I have been looking back and reflecting on everything that I have learned – both personally & professionally.
1. The Power of a Follow Up – Since interning for Lauren, I noticed how often I was following up with people whether it was planning the CLUTCH Magazine release party, applying for an internship, or simply asking a question. You wouldn’t believe how many people are actually thankful – not annoyed – that you are following up with them. Especially when it comes to internships, ALWAYS follow up to make sure that they actually received your materials. They might just be bombarded with resumes but the act of the follow up will give you an edge over your competition.
2. Network with EVERYONE – During college, don’t be selective. Keep in touch with ALL of your contacts. You never know when you might need them or vice versa. This is especially true if you are still not 100% sure of what career field you would like to go in. Organize your contacts into an excel document including their name, company, position, email address, phone number & their preferred method of communication. It’s also important to not abuse this relationship. Keep in mind that this is a give-take relationship – ask what YOU can do for THEM.
3. ALWAYS Call to Decline an Internship Offer - I got the opportunity to listen to Lauren speak at this year’s Teen Vogue Fashion University in New York City & she has mentioned this same advice before. Provided you are only applying for internships that you actually want, always say yes to an internship offer. If you get another internship offer which you feel is the better fit, pick up the phone & call the first company. You will be able to convey your genuine apology for declining the internship over the phone rather than an email.
4. Personalize your Cover Letters & Tailor your Resume - You won’t believe how many people we see apply for internships with “Dear Seventeen Magazine” for a Lucky Magazine internship. This is a sure sign that you are sending out the same cover letter for multiple internships. Personalize both your cover letter & resume for the job and company you are applying for. Also, keep your resume to one page. Anything that wasn’t covered in your resume, bring up in your interview and/or cover letter.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions - If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask! If you can get away with asking another intern, do that first. In general, your boss will be thankful that you had the courage to ask a question rather than try it out on your own & make a mistake.
All in all, I have had an amazing time interning for Intern Queen Inc. If you are interested in interning for Lauren, go ahead & apply for her summer 2011 internship program. You can also join the campus ambassador program (no FSU students please, we already have two!) – email me if you are interested & I will let you know what all you need to do.