Recently I provided my top tips for resumes and cover letters. Of course the goal is to ensure that your application materials get you in the door for an interview! Below are my top tips for interviews and internships.
Top Five Interview Tips
An interview is a golden opportunity to convey why you are the right person for the position the employer is seeking to fill. Whether asked out loud or not, the definitive interview question is "Why Should I Hire You?"
1. Know your resume. If you mention a thesis or research project, make sure you are ready to discuss it in detail!
2. Know the employer. Read the website, google the organization to find any recent press, and try to locate and speak with alums from your college who have worked for the employer.
3. Prepare thoroughly for every interview. If you are a confident public speaker and enjoy interviewing, maximize your skills; if the thought of an interview makes you break into a cold sweat, extra practice will make the interview goes as smoothly as possible. Practice out loud, with a friend, teacher, counselor, or in front of a mirror.
4. Leave your baggage outside the door. If you are unhappy with your grades, be prepared to discuss that in a confident manner and provide an example of how your on-the-job-ability is not fully reflected by your grades. Highlight other aspects of your background that can serve as an effective counter to concerns about your grades, such as your foreign language ability, commitment to public service, initiative, flexibility, or resourcefulness.
5. Be professional: wear a suit (nothing too big, too tight, or too short), arrive 10 minutes early, turn off your cell phone, throw away your gum and coffee, and have multiple copies of your resume handy.
Top Five Internship Tips
1. When any opportunity-to write a memo, work with someone new, tackle a last-minute assignment, or attend a meeting-is offered, say yes. During the short period of your internship, make work your number one priority whenever possible. Enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and the willingness to take on extra work will make a strong impression on your supervisors.
2. Arrive early each day and don't be the first to leave. Even if you have time on your hands, get to the office on time and stick around until the end of the workday. And if you don't have enough work to do. . . .
3. Take the initiative to ask for additional projects. Find out if there are any long-term assignments you can handle or meetings and conferences you can attend. Investigate whether there are opportunities to work with different groups in your organization, so you can meet more people and learn about other divisions.
4. Treat everyone with respect. In many offices, administrative assistants have the longest tenure and the bosses' ears. Make sure you are respectful of their time and express your thanks for their assistance.
5. Bring a notebook and pen everywhere you go. Take notes about your assignments and about what you see and learn. If you have questions while working on a project, ask specific questions so your final product is on-point.
Nicole Vikan is a graduate of NYU Law School. She spent her first law school summer at a large law firm, and her second summer in the Homicide Investigation Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. She returned to the District Attorney's Office after graduation and spent five years as a criminal prosecutor, handling cases such as robbery and assault. Nicole then joined Fordham Law School's Career Planning Center, where she advised students seeking employment in the private and public sectors. She is currently a career counselor at Georgetown Law Center's Office of Public Interest and Community Service. As part of the Anna Ivey team, Nicole works with law school applicants and people exploring legal careers.