At Drake University there is a lot of pressure to secure as many internships as you can before you can graduate, and this was a pressure I felt leading up to the summer after my sophomore year. Many of my peers had networked or established connections with professionals and were announcing their internship plans, while I was scrambling to find an extra job. I had just about given up hope when I received an email from a company I had met at my college career fair.
For one of my classes we were required to go to the career fair on campus. Being a sophomore, I knew most companies were looking to hire juniors and seniors, but I was excited to at least practice my networking skills.
I only spoke to two companies and after feeling very intimidated, I left with my two business cards feeling accomplished. Having been advised by multiple people in my life to always follow up on network connections, I emailed the two people I spoke with thanking them for their time and letting them know I’d be on the lookout for internship opportunities. Little did I know that was the best thing I could’ve done.
One of the people I spoke to emailed me back asking for a copy of my resume, I sent it without a second thought, remembering how she asked for everyone’s resume she spoke with at the career fair. I was shocked when I saw in email from her about four weeks later, discussing an internship opportunity that was available. I emailed her back and we set up a phone interview.
I have never had an internship or a job that required a lengthy interview process, so I was extremely nervous. I scoured the web looking for tips like: always smile on the phone, have your resume pulled up on your computer, and answer the phone in a specific way. I was excited, but not too optimistic.
Well after two stressful phone interviews, I received a job offer and to say I was overjoyed would be an understatement. This summer I will be working in Client Services and Account Management at a PR agency I really admire.
So I learned…
- Always follow up on any new network connections, even if it’s just to say I enjoyed meeting you.
- Always do your research before a phone interview, look up tips and stalk your interviewer’s company and LinkedIn Profile.
- Always remember to thank people for their time and email after every interview, letting the person know you appreciate their time and are interested in the position.
- And finally, never underestimate yourself.