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Getting Your Foot in the Door — And Keeping It There

Internships are rewarding experiences. They allow you to take concepts learned in textbooks and apply them to on-the-job situations while networking and establishing lifelong connections. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), new college graduates who had participated in internships did far better in the job market than their classmates who had no experience. Gaining that competitive edge over others who are eager to gain experience in your field outweighs the anxieties. Not only do internships sparkle on resumes, but they give you exposure to the realities of the world beyond TCNJ’s campus that help narrow down your career search. They can even segue into full-time job positions after graduation, so be sure to keep these tips in mind the next time you get called for an interview!

Before…

Be resourceful. Those who have more contacts than you will be willing to assist you if you ask. Implore the help of advisors, mentors or professors whose experiences can shed light on possible interviewing techniques or internship possibilities. Also, being resourceful means doing your homework. There’s nothing more embarrassing than blindly going into an interview with no knowledge of the company or organization. “There’s a difference between a candidate who has done their research and one who hasn’t,” said Eugenia Kang, Web Content Manager at Xanga.com who has interviewed over 300 potential candidates in four years. She explained that you have to decide whether or not the position will be worthwhile for what you’re expecting to get out of the opportunity.

Be professional. Choose your interview outfit a few days ahead of time so you’re not scrounging for attire the morning of. Nothing’s worse than realizing the outfit you planned on wearing is stained, ripped or wrinkled 10 minutes before you have to leave. “It’s not really as much a question of your fashion taste as it is your sense of judgment. Don’t dress like you’re going to a club, even if it’s for a fashion magazine interview. Always err on the side of professional! It communicates respect too,” said Grace Gold, a multimedia journalist and beauty expert.

During…

Be cautious. Use your nervous energy to your advantage instead of allowing it to hinder your performance. Even though the pressure is on you, interviewers are nervous too, because their questions must be well received. “Think before you speak. It’s age-old advice, but you don’t want to come across like an idiot; try and formulate the best response you can. It’ll be fine if you take a second before you speak,” said Qia Scotton, a junior communications major at The College of New Jersey with a concentration in radio, television and film who is currently interning with MTV news and docs for Viacom.

Be yourself. The worst idea is to put on a fake persona, only for your boss to find out the ‘real you’ after being hired and to regret their decision. Remaining professional while allowing your personality to shine will make the interviewer more comfortable in your presence. Being genuine and personable may be more important to your interviewer than your skills and qualifications, so act natural!

After…

• Be a social media promoter. Outlets such as Facebook and Twitter can be strategic tools to utilize as long as they supplement your interview. Displaying your enthusiasm for the position will make clear how seriously you are taking the position. “Tweeting at either the organization you interviewed with or the person you interviewed with can be very useful, though only if you use your social media in a professional capacity. After my job interviews, I tweeted things like ‘so excited about my job interview with @Spotify,’” said Stefanie Vitale, Social Media Coordinator at Brigade, a digital marketing agency, and one of our very own former Her Campus writers.

Be unforgettable. Show your persistence and dedication by reaching out to your interviewer after the meeting. Make yourself stand out above others’ who are vying for the position. Also, acknowledging your respect for the interviewer’s time will display your sensitivity and appreciation. “Don’t let them forget about you after you walk out that door. Send an email and a handwritten note politely thanking them for taking the time to meet with you and once again stressing your enthusiasm for the position,” said Jessica Cory, a Communications Specialist at Chester County Intermediate Unit and our former Her Campus TCNJ editor-in-chief!
   

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