6 Things We Learned From the Intern Queen

On Monday, Feb. 25, the Intern Queen, Lauren Berger, came to Michigan State and talked with students about the importance of internships and how to land your dream job! Berger lead a panel that consisted of Dave Rivers, top executive at Ford Motor Company; Michelle Hook, director of supply chain finance of Domino's; and Katie Lehmann, senior intern recruitor. After they each talked about the must-know-tips for interns, students were allowed to ask the questions they still wanted to know! 

Best tips from the panel: 

Dave Rivers: "Be specific about what you want, and go for it. It is important to know where you want to be in two, five, and 10 years!" 

Katie Lehmann: "Show your passionate about the position you are applying for! Let employers know that you want it." 

Michelle Hook: "When asked 'tell me about yourself,' always end with why you want to work for the company, and what you love about the company. Bring it back to the employer." 

Don't Take "No" for an Answer

When Berger was only a freshman at Florida State University, she walked into her career center in hopes to walk out with an internship.

"The career counselor asked me, where do you want to work? And I said, 'my dream job is to work for Us Weekly magazine!'"

After being told that she would need to wait and apply for a writing or public relations internship during her senior year, Berger went back to her dorm room and took matters into her own hands.

"The nice thing about our generation is when people say ‘no’, we like to say—in nice words—’yes’ and find a way to do it ourselves.” 


Follow Up Within 24 Hours—People Will Be Impressed

Berger landed her first internship—followed by 15 more throughout her college career—during her spring semester as a FRESHMAN!

After cold calling a local public relations firm—which is a bit risky (see #6)—the internship coordinator told her to send her a resume to review. Berger, who did not have a resume, made one that night consisting of her experience at the Limited Too and Red Lobsters, and sent to the coordinator THAT NIGHT.

She received a phone call the next day from the coordinator saying she was very impressed and wanted her to come in for an interview. The employer saw that Berger was passionate and really wanted the position because she followed up within 24 hours.

So, Intern Queen tip #2: Always follow up within 24 hours of meeting a professional contact! 


Hand Written Thank You Notes Can Land You a Job

Many of us have heard this tip before. Yes, typing up a nice email is much more convenient, but with the high volume of emails people get per day, the chances of them remembering you sent them an email is slim. Not to mention, they may not even read it! 

A handwritten letter thanking them for their time will be memorable and mean much more to them. Plus, if the Intern Queen tells you to do it, you probably should.

If you Find Ken Baker's Business Card, Email Him!

While interning for BWR Public Relations, Berger found a business card on the floor and picked it up. Whose was it you ask? None other than, at the time, West Coast Editor of US Weekly, Ken Baker (now known as reporter for E! News). So what does Lauren Berger do? She emails her new friend Ken Baker!

She sent an email saying that she found his business card while interning, and just wanted to let him know that US Weekly is her dream job, and if he ever needed ANYTHING she would be more than happy to help. She didn’t hear back from Mr. Baker until the following November, when she received a phone call from him asking her to travel to Barbados the next morning!

What did he say?: “Denise Richard and Charlie Sheen were in Barbados a few weeks ago and they got into a huge fight. We want to send you to see what they got into a fight about. We will pay you $200 around the clock for two days, $75 for lunch and dinner per day, and you need to have the same experience they had so we will put you up at the same exclusive hotel.”

The next day, she lands in Barbados and gets picked up by a Bentley of course! And the driver asks what brings her to Barbados. “I was a 20-year-old with a tote bag!” Being undercover, and not allowing anyone to know why she was there, Berger decided to pretend she was just some rich girl. “My daddy loves to send me to all the places my favorite celebs go!”

The driver asked, “Who's your favorite celebrity?”

So Berger said, “Denise Richards! I love her!”

The driver then said, “That’s funny, because two weeks ago her and Charlie Sheen were in the back of my car and they got into a huge fight. Charlie was texting someone he wasn’t suppose to be talking to and started cursing and screaming.”

They made the driver turn around, and they never even made it to the hotel.

After texting Ken Baker the whole story, he texted Berger back saying: “Good job, Lauren. You’re all done. Enjoy your trip to Barbados, your check will be in the mail.”

Pretty crazy story, huh? So, pick business cards off the floor! You never know whose it could be!


Stay in Touch with your Professional Contacts Three Times a Year

After completing an internship, it is hard to stay in contact with employers over time. But, Intern Queen’s very important rule is to stay in touch with your professional contacts EVERY summer, spring, and fall!


Take Risks and Think Big

We already gave you many examples why you must take risks. Without putting yourself out there, you won’t get very far! You have to learn to take risks when thinking big!

Berger, who wanted to work with Ford Motor Company to start the College Ambassador Challenge, had no contacts what-so-ever at Ford. So, she headed to the handy-dandy LinkedIn site and found herself a contact. She called the Ford headquarters and asked for Lee and scheduled a conference call with the national Ford marketing team to pitch her idea.

Although it took Berger three conference calls of convincing these people that it was a great idea, she finally received the green light.

“It [was] getting to be like a boyfriend who’s breaking up with me over and over again, and I am like, ‘why are you playing with me like this?’”

It wouldn’t have been possible if she wasn't persistent, taking risks, thinking big, and of course NOT taking "no" for an answer!