Last week, I addressed how you should go about searching for that dream internship and making it yours. This week, I’m here to intricately share tips on how you get the interview in the first place and ultimately, the job!
Let me begin with this: Interviews aren’t just handed out. You have to work for that, too! Supervisors love to see young hopefuls hustling so show them that you’re just that. With that being said, my first tip for getting the interview is to…
1. Contact the Supervisor Early
When you know when you want to intern, start the process several months earlier. It shows that you’re on your game. For my internship with Star 99.1 and PBS, I contacted them about two months prior to when I would start. However, with Elle, I contacted the fashion editor literally 6 months in advance. Yes, I said it. SIX MONTHS.
A. Fashion internships are extremely competitive. B. I was eager. And C. I couldn’t find the deadline anywhere!
So I emailed Elle.com’s fashion editor, Danielle Prescod. I sent a simple and direct message saying who I was and what I wanted. She told me that it was too early for them to start looking for interns and that I should contact her in March. So guess what? I emailed her on MARCH 1st hahaha. I did this because I wanted to illustrate how intrigued and determined I was to achieve the position.
Well, that must’ve worked because she emailed me the very next day to set up an interview with me in NYC.
I. Was. Esctatic.
But I was in DC for the semester, remember? So I told her that my Washington program would be over in two weeks and I could have the interview the very next day or I could take the Megabus to NY for the weekend to meet with her.
She told me I could wait.
I panicked. Was this some sort of test? Did she expect me to come even though she said it was fine for me to wait a while? I was mind blown but I was reading too deep. She meant what she meant! I was thinking too hard because I was worried someone who was easily available would take my spot.
But then I remembered: what God has for me is for me.
On to tip number 2: Research, research and more research.
I know that was my tip in my last post but honestly, it must be reiterated. Your research never ends! You have to study what type internship you want, you have to study who your potential boss is, and you have to study who you are. Yes, I said you!
Who are you? What do you like to do? What can you do for the company? In other words, how can your skills make them better?
Stuff like that.
Now, when it comes to studying your boss…Instagram and LinkedIn are your best friends. PS: I hope you have a LinkedIn.
Prior to my interview, I googled the heck out of Danielle! I found her on LinkedIn but didn’t connect in fear that it might be creepy haha but I did follow her insta! Harmless right?
Find out your potential boss’ past experiences in the industry and just get a gist of who he/she is.
3. Practice Being Interviewed
A typical tip… but you knew that so we’ll skip this tidbit.
4. Arrive To Interview 15+ Minutes Earlier
Guys. Just because I now know how to navigate around Washington like a pro (praise Jesus) doesn’t mean I can do New York straight like that. Just because I’m a Jersey girl, does not mean I should know how NY works. Before taking on this internship, I’ve only gone to New York by car haha.
So imagine my dread of heading there for an interview?! I mean shout out to my iPhone but subways are super confusing so liiiiike, how would I get there?
My mom emphatized and sent my cousin my way so we could take public transportation together to the Hearst building.
I woke up super early. Prayed and all that. I had my outfit planned out eons ago. (I shouldn’t have to say dress appropriately, right? Or, show your style because you totally should!)
It’s roughly a 50 minute commute from my home to the Hearst building. We gave ourselves 2 hours in case we got lost or any delays happened.
Well, guess what? There was a delay. And not one, but two! And on top of that, we STILL got confused with the subway stuff.
I got to the building at 1pm. What time was my interview, you ask?
ONE PM, I answer.
Yeah, I know. I felt doomed. I was so flustered and it was so hot and I had basically jogged to the building, grabbing onto my cousin’s wrist so we didn’t lose each other. I was…so out of it when I entered the pearly gates of magazine land.
I finally arrived, went through security and called Danielle to let her know I was coming up. And what was her first impression of me? Shock. I basically snuck up on her! But not purposely, I legit thought she could see me in her peripheral. Apparently, I was supposed to call again so she could lead me to her desk. Oops.
I felt so bad but she said it was okay lol.
It was a really off day.
Tip Number 5: Make Eye Contact & Smile.
Smile even when they’re not smiling back. Not a creepy one, though. Smile like you’re happy to be there because you are, duh.
Tip Number 6: Bring Your Resume & Cover Letter
Yes, I know you emailed them both already. However, you should still have them on hand. It’s actually considered irresponsible if you don’t.
You should also know your resume and your cover letter. No need to reread for deets at the interview! Familiarize yourself with yourself beforehand!
Tip Number 7: Askin’ All Dem Questions
Assumin’? No no no.
Remember all that research you did? Put it to work! When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you better say yes and have some good ones!
Because of my crazy commute that day, I forgot so many of my awesome questions and beat myself up about it afterwards. However, I was able to muster up one about her college choice and major. Phew.
Tip Number 8: Have A Firm Handshake
It’s just a must. Everyone says so – just do it haha.
Tip Number 9: Say Thank You & Follow Up
As I mentioned in my last post, people love gratitude! So say your “please and thank you’s!” Teehee. But no really, after the interview, thank the interviewer for their time and when you get home, send another! This puts you in a perfect position to inquire even further about your application status. It shows that you’re polite, extremely interested and that you’d do whatever it takes.
After I sent my “follow up” email, I immediately received a “thank you” as well and directions about what I should do next.
If you’re interested in editorial or websites, you may have to do an edit test! I had to do my first one for Elle and I found it so fun! An edit test basically shows your potential employer that you write well and understand the tone of the company. I had a week to finish it. I did it in a few days.
Yes, eagerness comes a long, long way because…
I GOT THE JOB!
Tip Number 10: WERK THAT, GIRL!
You got this, I know you do.