Securing the internship

Brandi Howliet | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Flickr User M Moser Association

It’s that time of the year: intern- ship season. Companies usually release their summer intern positions in the early fall a year prior. Although you can start interning as early as freshman year, depending on the company, most internships are catered to upperclass- men. 

Getting an internship provides real world experience, and internships can also help you secure a full-time posi- tion in the long run. Whether it’s your first semester at Hampton or your last year, it’s important to strive to get an internship at some point during one’s undergraduate career. 

Knowing how to pass the job interview is key to scoring an intern- ship. However, students often face many challenges when interviewing for internships, especially nerves, second thoughts and anxiety. 

“I’m always nervous a few days before the interview because that’s usually all I can think about. But once the interview gets rolling, my personal- ity outshines my nerves and I try to put my best self forward,” said HU student Casimere Street, a second-year journal- ism major from Chicago, Illinois. 

Finding a constructive way to push through nerves and uneasy feel- ings is important when interviewing. 

“You can never be too prepared,” said Sheria Richardson, a college recruiter for early talent development with BB&T. “Do your research and provide good examples that relate to the position. Knowing what the com- pany’s values are and weaving it into your answers are things that we look for as recruiters.” 

According to Post University, being prepared “speaks volumes to the employer, and they will most likely place you for the effort by allowing your candidacy to move to the next round.” 

When you are prepared, it demonstrates your enthusiasm for your possible career field and the company. While visiting Hampton University, Richardson helped prepare students for interviews by encouraging students to use the S.T.A.R. method for behavioral interviews: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. In behavioral interviews, recruiters often ask questions such as “Describe a stressful time at work and how you handled it?” Once you’ve recognized the question, then struc- ture your response appropriately by identifying the situation, task, action and result. 

First, start by defining the situation or job that needed to be accomplished. When doing this, it’s important to describe a specific event and not just a generalized example. This shows recruiters an ability to articulate past experiences and put them into context. 

Next, explain the task or overall goal of that situation and then describe the actions taken to change the situa- tion and discuss how effective those actions were. An important thing to re- member when addressing the action is to keep the focus on yourself. Highlight the actions you took in conjunction with how your actions benefited the situation. 

Finally, discuss the results. This step addresses the outcome of your actions. What happened? What was accomplished? Make sure to keep the results positive. If something negative did occur in the situation, use it as an example of how your capacity to push through adversity. 

With a little bit of confidence and a lot of preparation you’ll be on your way to securing that internship. 

“Bring your whole self,” Richardson said. “Be authentically you and allow recruiters to make a connection.”

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