Your internship is almost over. Besides remembering to keep up the hard work and a positive attitude until the very last day, there are a few other housekeeping items to keep in mind.
Performance Evaluation – Ask your supervisor for a written evaluation as well as an in-person review meeting. This is a great opportunity for you to receive feedback on your skills and performance during your internship. There are likely things that you can improve on before heading into your next internship or full-time job.
Letter of Recommendation – Find out if your supervisor is willing to serve as a reference and write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. It’s great to get a general letter of recommendation before leaving, while your work product is fresh in his or her mind.
Resume Review – Ask your supervisor or another co-worker to proof your resume. Ask for feedback on how you should include your internship responsibilities. The more professionals you ask to review your resume, the better.
Thank You Notes – It’s a good idea to hand write letters of thanks to your supervisor and anyone else at the organization who trained you, provided you with assistance, or took an interest in mentoring you during your internship.
Stay in Touch – It is very important to stay in touch with your supervisor and other professional contacts you’ve met during your internship. Send periodic updates on your academic progress or recent activities. When you are looking for future internships or full-time employment, you will still be fresh in their minds.
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When you are applying for internship positions away from your hometown or campus, you should expect to be asked to conduct a phone interview. Even employers hiring for full-time positions often conduct phone interviews for first-round interviews. It’s a useful way to weed out the people who look great on paper, but don’t have the needed verbal communication skills.
A phone interview can often be intimidating for many reasons. Among the trickiest is the inability to use someone’s facial expressions as a guiding point. How do you know if the person is getting bored? Do they like what you are saying? For anyone who appreciates a good “nod and smile” to confirm they are on the same page, having a conversation without non-verbal cues can definitely be a challenge.
It’s all about preparation – the more you prepare, the more comfortable you should be. Take the time to make sure that you are ready before getting on the telephone. Most importantly – be in a quiet space with a good phone connection and little to no background noise. Here are some things to keep in mind before, during and after the interview:
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
- Thoroughly read the organization’s website and become familiar with their mission, goals and main programs.
- Make sure that the voicemail messages on your home and cell phones are professional.
- Practice your interview skills with a roommate or friend, including answers to some common interview questions (see below). Consider practicing on the phone as well.
- Be prepared to discuss what is on your resume. Often, internship sites will ask about specific experiences indicated on your resume.
COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
- Tell me a little about yourself.
- What kind of internship are you looking for?
- What do you hope to gain or learn from the internship?
- What is your interest in our issue area (health care, environment, politics, etc)?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What kind of experience/skills can you bring to the internship?
- What are your biggest accomplishments?
- How do you organize and meet deadlines?
- Do you prefer working in a team or individually?
DURING THE INTERVIEW
- Stay focused: Don’t multi-task and type e-mails or text messages.
- Address the interviewer as Mr. or Ms. unless invited to do otherwise.
- Don’t just keep talking because you are nervous about silences – give the interview an opportunity to respond to your statement and decide what questions to move on to.
- Be enthusiastic about the opportunity. Even if you don’t think this is the internship you were looking for, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Try to be as specific as possible when answering questions and use examples from previous experiences.
- Ask questions when given the opportunity. Some examples include:
- What are the major responsibilities of this internship?
- What projects will I be most involved with?
- What is a typical day like in the office?
- What is the work environment like, including dress code?
- What is the most important issue/project that your organization is working on right now?
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
It is always recommended to promptly follow up with a thank-you email or note. Re-affirm your interest in the position and mention something specific that you spoke about. Even if you don’t want to accept the position, maintain a professional relationship with your interviewer. You never know when your paths may cross again.
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Looking to explore a revitalized, historic DC neighborhood? Want to find a fun locale that is unique to DC? Well, look no further than the H Street corridor. Located in northeast DC between 4th Street NE and 15th Street NE, this neighborhood is bursting with diversity in arts, entertainment, new businesses and exciting events.
Be sure to check out these favorite, local restaurants for a great meal:
- The Argonaut (http://www.argonautdc.com/) is an old-style tavern that’s known as H Street’s “true neighborhood gathering spot.” With daily deals and specials, you will surely save a buck or two and enjoy some delicious food.
- Sticky Rice (www.stickyricedc.com) is a fun take on Japanese cuisine. They specialize in fresh sushi, noodle dishes and other entrees; however, they are famous for their tater tots. Be sure to order a bucket for the table when you go!
- Taylor Gourmet (www.taylorgormet.com) is a great place to grab a tasty, Italian-style sandwich packed with high quality ingredients. These hoagies are sure to hit the spot.
H Street also has a great nightlife scene:
- Stop by H Street Country Club (www.thehstreetcountryclub.com) for a round of cocktails and a round of mini golf. This is the only place in DC you will find an indoor mini golf course.
- The Rock & Roll Hotel (www.rockandrollhoteldc.com) offers live music and hotel themed rooms and bars.
- The Red Palace (www.redpalace.com) is nothing but unique. This New Orleans influenced bar and restaurant offers live music, Vaudeville shows, a museum of sideshow oddities and an extensive drink and craft beer menu.
Don’t miss the annual H Street Festival in September. The festival is a neighborhood highlight every year with hundreds of merchants and sponsors lining the streets for an all day party. There is live music, “artcars”, fashion shows and so much more. Mark your calendars for this great event!
For more information about H Street please visit: http://hstreet.org/index.php.
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Posted in Washington DC on February 14, 2012 |
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Valentine’s Day is here! Read on for a few ideas on how to celebrate the holiday in DC with your significant other or a great group of friends.
There are a number of restaurants throughout the District that are offering great deals on prefixed menus this Valentine’s Day. Why not give the sweetheart pizza at Fuel Pizza & Wings a try? Or the three course option at Birch and Barley, where the chefs have created two one-night-only menu options. Just make sure to call ahead to see if they still have openings.
Wanting to avoid the busyness of the DC restaurant scene? Why not stay home and cook for your valentine? The internet is full of new recipes to try, but if you need a little guidance, give this Shrimp Scampi recipe a try – it’s a favorite in my house.
But what about dessert? Luckily Founding Farmers is accepting orders for 7” mini versions of their house-made Red Velvet Layer Cake with whipped frosting. Perfect for sharing, this dessert comes boxed and tied with a ribbon for your sweetheart.
Consider tickets to the Blues Alley for tonight! The nation’s oldest continuing jazz and supper club is hosting V. Rich, a contemporary R&B artist who’s worked with singing greats like Lauryn Hill and Mya. The venue provides a wide variety of entrees, drinks and late night fare.
Looking to dance the night away? Give the Black Cat on 14th Street a try. The lounge will be hosting the 13th Annual Valentine’s Day Rock and Roll Dance Party. Coupled up or single, it doesn’t matter – this event is a blast for all.
Love improv? Why not try Love Bites: Washington Improv Theater Takes on Valentine’s Day. The Source Theater is the venue for this once a year show that’s guaranteed to garner audience involvement and more than a few laughs!
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You’ve done the hard part – researched internships and decided which ones to apply for. You’re in the process of getting your materials together. Resume? Check. Cover Letter? Check. Writing Sample…hmmm… maybe I won’t apply for this position…
The dreaded writing sample can often be a stumbling block for many internship applicants. Some organizations require short writing samples in addition to a resume and cover letter. If the position is primarily focused on research and writing, you can expect to submit at least one piece. Deciding what to submit can be the most intimidating part of the application process.
Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Tailor your submission – Don’t just send in any short piece you’ve written for a past course. Think about what might be most relevant to the position to which you are applying. You may be able to take a portion of a longer paper and pare it down. Make sure that you present a clear theory and then back it up with evidence in a concise manner. If you don’t have anything that fits the bill, don’t be afraid to give yourself a prompt and write the sample from scratch.
Be careful with opinion pieces – Unless the political position of an organization is very clear, it is best to tread lightly when expressing opinions on controversial issues. You do not want the person reading your application to be offended or to write you off prematurely.
Professional writing is different – We all know what happens when you are assigned a 25 page term paper in college – somehow ideas that could be expressed in one simple sentence are stretched into two to three complex statements. Strive to be concise and not overly wordy. The synonym function in Microsoft Word isn’t always your friend. Just because a word sounds loftier or less commonplace doesn’t mean it’s the right word. Be critical when editing your own work – think about ways to tighten up the thoughts you’ve expressed.
Proofing, proofing, proofing – After you’ve spent time editing your samples, give them to at least three other people to review. Tell them about the position to which you are applying and ask for honest feedback. An easy way to be eliminated from consideration is to have a typo or two.
Follow formatting instructions – Was a word limit given? If so, stick to this limit. Spacing preferences? Some people feel strongly about double spacing. You don’t want to be disregarded for not following submission instructions.
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