by Nicholas Smith
Whether you are in high school, college or graduate school, participating in internships gives you critical experience for future, full-time employment. Internships are often unpaid positions that last for a set amount of time -- a semester, a quarter or the entire summer, for instance. The interview process is the most important part of securing the internship. By thoroughly preparing for the interview, you ensure that you are equipped to put your best foot forward and secure the position.
1. Review the job description for the internship. You must fully understand what your potential employer expects you to accomplish during the course of your internship.
2. Obtain as much information about the interview as you can. Contact the person who called or emailed you to set up the interview, if necessary. Ask the person to identify the parties who will interview you, the interview length and whether you need to bring a writing sample with you.
3. Identify the classes you have taken and jobs you have held that are most relevant to the position. For example, if you are interning for a member of Congress, you would strengthen your interview by explaining, at the relevant time, that you have taken courses on the federal government, on drafting legislation, on lobbying or whatever relevant courses you took. Additionally, identify the previous jobs you have held that you feel are most relevant. For example, if you are applying to be an intern at a radio station, on-air experience at your college station is highly relevant.
4. Review the resume that you submitted to make sure that it lists the most relevant jobs and coursework that you thought of. Because you are approaching the interview stage, you likely submitted your resume to secure the interview. If you did not, prepare a professional resume using your computer's word processor (see Resources for sample resumes).
5. Prepare professional attire and appearance. Men should wear a suit and tie of conservative colors and fabric. Navy and dark gray work well. The suit should be wool or a wool blend. Avoid lower quality acetate and rayon-blended suits. Avoid bright, loud tie colors. For example, a blue or burgundy tie works well. Women should wear a two-piece, matched suit. Pantsuits and skirts are acceptable. Skirts should cover your thighs when you are seated. Navy, dark gray and black suits are common.
6. Prepare answers for common interview questions, such as "Why do you want to work for us?" and "Tell me about yourself?" Although you cannot predict every question that you will be asked, preparing answers to these common questions helps you memorize the most relevant answers. You are likely to be asked about previous jobs, relevant classes and personal characteristics that make you a good fit. For example, you might be asked to give an example that shows you as a good team member.
7. Practice answering interview questions with a friend, a coworker or a family member. Doing so will ease nervousness on the interview day.
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