Some Advice For Would-Be Interns

It seems strange that I should be writing a post like this, since it was only a few months ago that I was an intern myself, desperately trying to show companies that I would be the employee that they couldn’t do without.  But life is strange, and I never say never to anything, because who knows what the future will bring?  (Well, I’m never bleaching my hair- I know for a fact that I will look horrendous if I do so.  It is known. [Shout out to Game of Thrones, Season 2 starting on April 1!!])

My work has been in need of some interns lately, so I’ve been posting the ads and screening the applicants and inviting them to come in an interview.  I haven’t had to conduct the interviews yet, but I usually sit in and listen, so I’ve been pretty involved in every step of the hiring process.  What I’ve seen and heard has appalled me.  I know college students aren’t expected to have a complete knowledge of the working world, but what are their career centers teaching them?  Do students even utilize those resources?  For anyone thinking of interning anywhere anytime soon, do yourself a favor and go to your school’s career center.  I know that my school’s center gave me tons of invaluable advice from everything from the format of my resume to interviewing tips.  If you don’t have that option, even Googling “How to interview” or “How to write a cover letter” will bring up loads of fairly solid examples- you have no excuse to be unprepared!

For people looking into internships, here are some no-nos I encountered while reading applications and sitting in on interviews.  Never EVER do these things:

  • Fail to follow applications instructions: Even though the ad asked for a resume, cover letter, and 1-2 writing samples, an applicant sent in a blank email with only a resume attached.  I kid you not.  A) Sending a blank email is rude-not even a Hello?  Really? and B) if you can’t even follow my simple instructions, how can I believe you’ll follow instructions at work?  You can bet that I immediately dumped the application in the “NO” pile before I even saw their resume.
  • Misspell the company’s name: An applicant sent email with our company name misspelled.  Yeah…you need to know the name of the place you’re applying to.  I know that sending out tons of cover letters can get confusing at times, especially if you’re nervous or stressed, but please PLEASE have someone else look it over.  Nobody likes their name misspelled- same goes for companies.
  • Bitch out your old boss: The first thing one applicant talked about when asked about their previous position was their awful old boss and complained about their lack of motivation and overall shady-ness.  Even if you had a crap boss, you NEVER bitch about previous employers.  You never know who knows who, and it looks really unprofessional.  The applicant was promising, but their attitude left a really bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
  • Go MIA after an interview: Hardly anyone sent in a thank you note.  I always thought that it was a standard practice to send a thank you note to whoever interviewed you, but apparently it’s falling out of favor.  Oh no.  A simple thank you can go a LONG way in helping an employer remember you when you mention a tidbit from your conversation.  It helps you stand out from all the other applicants; plus, it’s just courteous and everyone likes courtesy, right?  (Though chivalry is sadly becoming an endangered practice, but that’s for another post on another day.)

I’m fairly confident that all employers and hiring managers will agree with me on these four simple points.  As interns, we know that a lot of you are new to the working scene and are looking for a place to learn and grow- which is great!  But you need to prove to us first that you’re capable of handling the responsibilities that will be expected of you.  And that starts with spelling the company name correctly in your emails.

2011 In Review

Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend, whether they were big or small, in the snow or sun, in the West or in the East (and far East!  Shout out to my 언니)  And even if you didn’t celebrate anything, I hope you at least enjoyed your vacation from work or school.

I don’t know about you, but 2011 was a pretty big year for me.  And not in terms of my waist, although it certainly gained a few inches from the last few weeks of holiday-induced gorging.  But that’s why we have New Year’s Resolutions, right?  So we can tell ourselves and anyone else who cares to listen that we intend to work out and lose weight?  I know that’s been on my list for years and years…and sometimes it works out.  Sometimes.

Let’s revisit some of the most memorable parts of my 2011 (in no particular order):

  • Traveled to Spain and China: Two very different experiences, one on a guided tour and one mostly on my own.  I had never been to Spain before, and I absolutely loved it.  Hands down one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited so far.  China was, of course, as I expected, but that didn’t make it less of an exciting and interesting experience for me.  Missed my posts and pictures on China?  Just type “gallery” in the search bar at the top of my blog and you’ll find them.
  • Rediscovered some past loves: Reading has been for some time something I did for class, and not for leisure.  I changed that this year.  Some of my favorite books form this year: Empire of the Summer Moon (nonfiction), A Song of Fire and Ice (epic fantasy), Of Love and Other Demons (magical realism).  Also rediscovered my love for talking about myself blogging, hence why this blog has yet to die off.
  • Graduation: Rather self-explanatory, I should think.  I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE!  It took four years and way too many late nights, but I finished and it still feels great 6 months later (damn, it’s already been that long?)
  • Employment: Dear readers, steel yourselves for some news of great importance.  I had up until this point been working two internships while continuing to search for full-time employment.  Well, the long search has finally come to an end.  I GOT A JOB!  I shan’t bore you with the gory details, but the long story short is that I’m working with a PR firm that specializes in music but also has clients in other areas of the entertainment industry as well.  It doesn’t pay a lot BUT I love what I’m doing and that makes all the difference.  Music is my life, so to be able to work with it (since my not-so-secret ambition to become a world-famous rock star is on the back burner at the moment) is a dream come true.

2012 will turn out to be an interesting year, I think.  Next post: what I intend to do keep it interesting!