’Tis the season to be applying for placements and as a well-versed applicant, offer-receiver and rejectee, I thought it prudent to share with you some key pieces of advice I have accumulated over the past three years. I hope this article may serve as a confidence-booster for any aspiring intern.
1. Make your CV shine!
2. A good Cover Letter is vital
3. Video interviews – think carefully and speak slowly
University of Sheffield Careers Service online has practise video interviews to try for enrolled students.
4. Online tests are harder and more important than you think.
5. The interview day – you got this!
You travel to the company headquarters and you wait nervously for what feels like an eternity on a foam chair, next to a gurgling water cooler. A bead of sweat trickles down your temple. Then, the manager walks in, arms crossed with a pursed smile and invites you into the room. Your first task is the formidable handshake. Tackle this with confidence, a smile and a reassuring firmness. It is worth practising your perfected shake on friends before the day. Now, you follow them hesitantly into a stuffy room where you are greeted by two other vultures in suits, just chomping at the bit to tear you apart. They offer you a drink and you politely decline. Then, the middle vulture speaks quickly with an authoritative tone. Their confidence shocks you and you retreat deeply into your own world. But then, a pause. Suddenly you’re crucially aware of three expectant pairs of eyes opposite you, waiting for your response, for your justification as to why you even bothered to walk through their doors. You clear your throat, inhale deeply and you start to remember how thoroughly you’ve prepared for this day. You remember just how far you’ve progressed in the application process, where others have failed. You remember all the strengths you have that make you so perfect for the role. And suddenly, like a switch, the dynamic changes. The three vultures sitting opposite you become regular people who, like you, have had their own share of failures and mistakes. As you speak, you realise they were once in your shoes too, nervous and scared of saying the wrong thing. Suddenly, your fear goes and you tackle the rest of their questions with an impressive preparedness. The interview ends, you shake their hands and leave politely, realising at the end of the day you are just as valuable to them as they are to you.