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How many of you feel uncomfortable speaking on the phone? As members of the socially awkward Millennial generation, our generic comforts of communication start at textversations and skip to coffeeshop chit chat. While our social lives may have adjusted to this new norm, the phone is still a crucial communication tool in the professional realm. Enter the phone interview complex.
Not only are we predestined to shake with sweaty palms throughout minutes one, two, and three, speaking in real time without the luxury of tangible analysis, via text or body language, makes deciphering the success of a phone interview an arduous task.
Fear not! Here are 3 surefire ways to understand the outcome of a phone interview:
So, tell me about yourself?
It’s a given the landscape of your interview will cover your professional background and education. This information serves as the basis for determining your level of qualification for the position. It’s the expected. A sign your interview is going well is if it the conversation takes a turn into the unexpected. The unexpected ranges from inquiring about specific contributions to previous internships to lifestyle questions in attempt to gage whom you are as a person. The more questions, the better. This shows they’re not only interested in seeing if you’re a fit credentially, but if you’re a fit for the office culture and team social dynamic.
Tick tock goes the clock
Phone interviews are no different than first dates. A clear sign there is a connection is if coffee turns into dinner which turns into a movie. While an interviewer is by no means going to invest in that extent of seduction, a phone interview that lasts longer than scheduled is a strong indicator of interest. Prolonging a preliminary call shows the interviewers is excited about you as a potential candidate. While there is no magic time length, 20, 30, or even 45 minutes is a great sign!
The second date
No one feels safe leaving a situation with unknown prospects. If an interviewer explains the next steps clearly at the end of the call, congrats; you have a second date!
Are you a pro at the phone interview? Comment with your tips and tricks below!
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your experience.
SM: I am a current senior at Elon University, preparing to graduate this May! Right now, I am interning for Esquire Magazine in NYC within the Fashion Editorial department. I will return to Elon when my internship wraps up next month. I’ve had internships all over the board during my college career, however my internship with Esquire is my first position in the fashion industry! In addition, I am a Brand Ambassador for The Next Step Realty in NYC, a Chapter Advisor for Boston-based, Her Campus magazine, and write for my own Her Campus chapter at Elon.
Where have you interned to date?
SM: My most recent internships include my current internship at Esquire Magazine as well as my internship with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF last summer. I have also held part-time internship positions at OhioHealth and Prime Social Group, both based in my hometown, Columbus, Ohio.
That is quite a variety of experience! What’s been your favorite internship so far? Where do you see yourself headed?
SM: My favorite internship so far has undoubtedly been my current internship at Esquire Magazine. I think I had always envisioned myself in fashion, however, I never thought I would have an opportunity to explore the industry this early in my career. So far, I love the editorial side of things, however, I’m not opposed to exploring other areas like publishing, PR, etc. Overall, I definitely see myself in a creative field in one way or another!
Her Campus is one of our favorite resources for college students! What kind of content do you write for them? Has offering other college students advice helped you grow as one yourself?
SM: Her Campus has truly been one of the greatest stepping stones for my professional career! I’ve been writing for the Her Campus Elon chapter for two years and counting. I tend to pick up stories relating to fashion and beauty. I’m also a Senior Copy Editor for Her Campus Elon, and a Chapter Advisor for the larger Her Campus magazine out of Boston. My Chapter Advisor role in particular has provided me with the opportunity to simultaneously develop my editorial and business skills. I highly recommend others to get involved!
Why do you intern?
SM: I intern because I am eager to learn as much as I can not only about a given industry/company, but also about my own capabilities, and capacity for professional growth. Internships allow me to absorb a tremendous amount of working knowledge from a wide range of entry points. Whether you’re learning from established employees, fellow interns, clients, or intuitively on your own, there is always something to be gained from internships.
What would you say is the most valuable thing you’ve learned through all of your experience?
SM: I’ve learned that there is not always going to be a clear-cut path for completing a task or project. In fashion, there is always something that needs to be done. Many times, there can be a multitude of tasks thrown at you, in which you must quickly decide how you’re going to prioritize. And sometimes, it takes a little creativity or hard research to efficiently complete a tricky assignment. I can’t stress “efficiency” enough; it’s perhaps one of, if not the most important concept when it comes to achievement in any workplace. Also, organization and an eye for detail is key in almost every role, particularly one in the fashion industry.
What do you feel is the key to “efficiency?”
SM: Personally, I believe that the key to efficiency is organization. I’m not saying you have to be OCD, however, strong organizational habits should be a priority. Also, I recommend keeping your eyes and ears open in the office – you can learn so much by (appropriately) tuning-in on the interactions around you!
Do you have a specific system to keep yourself organized?
SM: The first thing I do in the morning is check my email. I respond to messages as needed and quickly address any urgent requests. The beginning of the workday also calls for going over both daily and long-term to-do lists. Each day, I create new daily to-do lists, rank by priority, and periodically work on long-term to-do lists as well. I’m also a big fan of “flagging” important emails to review at the end of each workday.
How would you advise someone to push themselves? Self-motivation can be tricky business.
SM: Personally, I always prefer to adopt a goal-oriented mindset when it comes to succeeding in the workplace. Visualizing a final project while in the process of piecing it together really helps motivate me to finish what I started. In terms of motivation in the job-seeking process, I always try to think of the long-term benefits of internships and overall try to remain optimistic.
What’s been your favorite internship and why?
SM: My favorite internship thus far is definitely my current internship with Esquire Magazine in the Fashion Editorial department. The fast-paced nature of the department guarantees that there is always something to do. As an intern in particular, it’s refreshing to have hands-on work and responsibility everyday. Working fashion shoots is another plus; the surprises here and there continue to keep me on my toes!
Who are some of the mentors who have inspired you?
SM: I’m greatly inspired by my fellow interns–both past and present. Working with my peers has allowed me to more efficiently transition into an intern role, establish essential professional and personal relationships, and more. Working in tandem with my peers has also allowed me to pick up on their strengths, and thus strive to improve my own areas of weakness.
Have you kept in touch with your fellow interns?
SM: I have! Although distance makes it difficult at times, it’s nice to have the convenience of both professional networks (like LinkedIn) and social media networks to stay in touch! The great thing about keeping in touch with fellow interns is that they love Instagram and Snapchat as much as I do!
How do you balance a friendship and a professional relationship with your fellow interns? Do you have any limits?
SM: I’ve come a long way in terms of balancing friendship and professionalism around my fellow interns. My first internship was in event-planning, so I was mostly on my feet working fun sponsored events with my fellow interns. This particular setting allowed me to develop solid professional communication habits from the get-go. Whether you’re in a traditional office environment or not, it’s important to follow the observed rules for professional relationships with both your peers and seniors. I enjoy engaging in small talk, light conversation, however, I try to leave inside jokes, relationship drama, personal opinions etc. outside of the office. At this juncture, I would say that I’m pretty seasoned in terms of balancing friendship and professionalism with fellow interns!
Do you have any advice for writing a cover letter?
SM: Firstly, I would encourage the writer to incorporate personality throughout the cover letter, without sacrificing professionalism of course. Personally, I always start with a “sales pitch” of sorts that concisely combines my knowledge of the given company and a distinguishing professional skill/quality that I feel would lure in the reader. While tailoring the cover letter to a given company, I then concisely state relevant professional experience and what I can bring to the company.
What about for resumes, since it is very important part of your application and is always up for debate by means of presentation?
SM: I try to keep my resume as concise as possible, however, I don’t abide by any rules when it comes to length. I do organize my resume with header first (name, contact info, professional objective and skill set), followed by professional experience (beginning with the most recent), education, and awards/recognition. I tailor all of this information depending on the job application.
What’s your interview prep process? Any tricks to combat nerves?
SM: Practice, practice, practice! I always make sure that I am prepared for all sorts of questions to be thrown my way. I am very big on research, so I love Google-ing typical job interview questions as well as company-specific interview questions (Glassdoor.com is a life-saver!). In addition, I recommend memorizing your own resume, especially any highlights from your previous positions.
What are three words you would use to describe a rockstar intern?
SM: Sharp (as in mentally-sharp!), positive, and personable!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
SM: “More than anything else, we need to be efficient”
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to fellow interns?
SM: “If you have to cry, go outside” -Kelly Cutrone
Congrats on landing an internship at Esquire Magazine through our Intern Look book! How did they reach out to you?
SM: Esquire contacted me via email last November, and then arranged a phone interview a few days later. Honestly, I think I’m still on cloud 9!
What’s your favorite part of Free Fashion Internships?
SM: I love the internship search function! It’s both easy and exciting to keep tabs on new internship postings from a multitude of fabulous fashion brands and magazines!
What’s next for you?
SM: Upon graduation, I hope to land an entry-level position this fall in NYC. I definitely see myself continuing to work in fashion, so hopefully it’s in the cards for me! I’m very eager to permanently return to the city that has opened my eyes to this unique industry.
SM: Don’t be the girl who didn’t go to Paris!
Every activity comes with a corresponding etiquette. Whether it be courting a delicate woman off her feet or saying please and thank you, every human activity comes with unspoken guidelines to appropriate manners. Internships are no exception. While the rules of internship etiquette may be unspoken, they will no longer be unwritten. Behold the four golden rules of internship etiquette:
Here’s your new favorite three-letter word: y-e-s. Yes! Say yes to everything (within reason) at your internship. Can you refill the printer? Yes! Can you run a quick errand? Yes! Can you look this up? Yes! While not everything you’re agreeing to may seem of educational value, being known as the yes-person will set you up as the go-to person when the grand tasks come along.
You’ve got mail!
Email doesn’t have to be an art if you master the basics of appropriate etiquette. Answer promptly, use full sentences, and check your spelling and grammar. For more tips on email etiquette, check out our post on The Dos and Don’ts of Email.
Your cell phone is killing you
Our cell phones are the bane of our future success. The urge to release our iPhone peeing out of the outside pocket of our work bag is a struggle we all know is real. The last thing you want to be known in the office as is the girl with the texting addiction. Now, this is not to say you need to say goodbye to your phone and hello to separation anxiety. Before your phone becomes your desk-side neighbor, scope out the office culture and etiquette when it comes to cell phone usage. At some internships you may benefit from prompt cell phone usage in terms of communication. But don’t get too excited; this does not by any means include your BFF or the beau.
A time and a place
Your fellow interns make great friends, but there is a time and a place to be gabbing about weekend plans. Be fully present when you’re working, and take advantage of coffee and lunch breaks to fit in that much needed girl talk.
Have any rules to add? Comment below!
Applying for an internship is an arduous task. Seamlessly landing an internship is an art. Your resume and cover letter should speak for themself to make your entrance into an interview. But walking into the office doors in a crisp, black blazer and a confident countenance doesn’t mean you’re done with your application. In fact, your resume in conjunction with an interview makes up the entirety of the application process. Only after you’ve rocked those can you kick off your heels and take a deep, relaxing breath.
As youthful interns who are green to the application process, compared to seasoned professionals, there are 3 key mistakes made that need to be recognized and combatted.
Don’t fake it
We’ve covered in our previous post The Biggest Resume Mistakes common errors interns make when constructing the holy document, but what we didn’t address is how to combat a lack of work experience. Having only a couple years of college under our belts, with corresponding work experience, leaves us with a lack of qualifications we assume we need. Don’t fake it. Even (debatebly) worse, don’t create a resume that is the spitting image of a job description instead of showing or explaining accomplishments. Push your ego aside and realize sample trafficking is not rocket science. Impress employers by including non-work world related accomplishments, such as volunteering or school projects, that show achievement and results. That is what will impress an employer.
Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Don’t just check for accuracy grammar and spelling yourself, reach out to friends and family and have them proofread it for you. And then reach out to more people. The more eyes that preliminarily scan your resume the better. It’s the tiniest of errors that may cost you the job.
Use the Internet
We don’t just live in a digital age, we grew up during the peak of its metamorphism. Needless to say, we millennials are well-versed in the ways of the Internet. One of the biggest mistakes prospective interns make is prepping for an interview scrolling through Facebook instead of soaking in knowledge from the company’s website. Learning everything possible about a company before the interview provides preparation to not just accurately answer questions regarding your familiarity with the company, but allows you to specifically tailor your answers to be in line with their mission statement and core values.
Have you learned from any of these mistakes? Share your story and comment below!
When it comes to reviewing a resume, two attributes tend to be notable credentials: extraordinary responsibility and unwavering commitment. Unfortunately, these traits are unlikely to be acquired in the standard four month internship period. How does one obtain these characteristic achievements? Investing. Not with big buckets of Benjamins, but with precious time by staying at an internship for more than one semester.
Wary about making the decision? Here’s 3 reasons why you should consider staying at your internship for more than one semester.
Trust is a five-letter present only gifted to those who have paid their dues. Since the majority of interns only remain at a company for a brief period of time, allotting reliance and investing in training may seem like a venture with little return on investment to employers. The awareness of the temporary nature of the situation inspires bosses to become hesitant releasing all-encompassing trust through the assignment of crucial responsibilities. This can be conquered by staying at an internship for more than one semester because the act proves you are no temporary traveler. Investing in a commitment to the long run motivates employers to offer interns more responsibilities, which is exactly what you should be looking for.
More than just a pretty face
A four month occupancy at a company makes you a familiar face. An eight month commitment gives you a name. Having those in high places place a name to your pretty face, as opposed to scratching their head to collect a facial recognition, is a crucial step to building connections. Once it’s apparent you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, unlike the majority of interns that swarm in and out the company doors on a monthly basis, your dedicated work ethic becomes worthy of remembrance.
Let’s be real – applying for internships is a an arduous task filled with hours of resume revisions and pre-interview jitters. The months long daunting process creates an unbreakable, anxiety-ridden bond between you and your iPhone inbox. The stress is tangible. The struggle is real. Fortunately for those who stay at their internship for more than one semester, the thought of going through an application process is a distant memory replaced by blissful stability. No only is this a wrinkly-free remedy, it allows you to stroll through your day with the ability to zone in on your work without the distraction of the impending, inevitable future.
Convinced? Check out our blog post on How To Stay For More Than One Semester for instructions that will lead the way to your success.
As the semester comes to a close marked by an impeding load of cramming procrastinated material into your overstuffed brain and a slew of Scantrons, the end of your internship is quickly approaching. While you’ve been rocking it all semester long, last impressions are almost as important as first impressions. Therefore, in order to be an intern to be remembered for years to come, it’s time to end with a bang! A big bang! A “break the internet” kind of bang! Here are 3 ways to leave your internship as an intern icon to be reckoned with.
Leave a legacy
A wildly popular lifetime achievement is to leave a legacy. As meager late teens and twenty somethings, leaving this planet with an empire of offsprings is decades away. Instead of thinking far beyond the stars of the future, a way to leave a legacy today is by developing a structured guide on how to be an optimal intern at your company. Creating a binder describing your job responsibilities, daily activities, and pending projects creates an invaluable resource that will be used for years to come. But don’t stop there. Be a proactive legacy and offer to train new interns and provide counsel even after your internship has come to a close. This shows that you sincerely care about the company and are passionately invested in its success. Now, that’s a legacy.
Thank you x 2
Hopefully you’ve made connections with not just your boss, but other influential cogs that make the company a well oiled machine. Instead of taking the relationship for what it was, shoot them an email a week before the end of your internship thanking them for their guidance and contribution to a fruitful internship experience and include your personal contact information. On the your last day, follow up with your initial thank you email with a hand written (yes, hand written) thank you note thanking them for their time and that you will be in touch and look forward to a long lasting relationship. Beware, this is not a mushy-gushy love letter to the one that got away. Keep the thank you letter concise, professional, yet meaningful.
Plan for the future
If your experience as an intern has sparked a being inside whose gut is certain this is the company you’re destined to work for, don’t assume your boss is a mind reader. Schedule a brief meeting with your boss and very politely and professionally let it be known that the internship has shaped your career aspirations and working for the company would be a dream come true. Don’t expect a job offer on the spot; this revelation is simply getting your foot in the door.
Do you have any tips on how to leave your internship with a bang? Comment below to share your story!
You nailed your interview. Yes! It’s almost over and every question has been answered smoothly. Then the bomb hits.. “Do you have any questions?” Do you? This is a hard question to answer if there is nothing you’re really wondering about. Fortunately, Inc. published an article called 8 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask During Job Interviews with advice that will end your interview with a bang. We’ve picked 3 out of their 8 questions that apply to an internship interview.
What role will I fill?
So Cosmo is looking for a fashion intern. What does that even mean? While the name “Cosmo” shouts incredible fashion, the responsibilities of a fashion intern are ambiguous in the job title. You’re going to be a member of a larger team, filling a void if you will, and asking “who” your position is supposed to be ahead of time is quite impressive.
What would I be doing that makes your job easier?
The role of an intern is to lighten the company’s load. Therefore, it’s important to learn who will be leaning on you the heaviest. This may be a direct boss, or it may be an entire department. Asking this question gives you insight into your job responsibilities and what the team is hoping you can help them solve.
What are additional important skills I will need to do this job well?
The job description lists the essential skills. It’s up to you to ask what additional skills can help you succeed in the position. By asking this you’ll get a more well-rounded view of the kind of person they’re looking to hire and provide an opportune time to pitch your special skills.
View the entire list here!
This is a cover letter, not a resume
As you may have learned from reading some of our resume advice, a resume needs to be a one-page, to the point document that includes bullet pointed fragments demonstrating your most impressive accomplishments at a job. It’s pretty limiting. That’s where the cover letter steps in. The cover letter is not for you to simply regurgitate what you’ve already written on your resume, but offers the use complete sentences that fully encapsulate the specific details of your accomplishments that were restricted on your resume.
Don’t be self-centered
In essence, the cover letter is not about you, it’s about what you can do and how that will benefit the company. Nobody cares how awesome you are on your own; they care about how awesome you would be working for them. Do this by demonstrating what you’re capable of and how that correlates to the job description and expected delivery.
In our blog post How To Make Your Cover Letter Memorable, we explain how sharing a story instead of iterating the same old same old can make your cover letter stand out. What ties do you have the company? Have you been ogling over Chanel ever since you first spotted that metallic blue wallet with an embroidered bow way back in your middle school days? Is Vogue your bible? Sharing a unique and individual story makes your cover letter remembered instead of trashed. Caution: keep it concise. It’s still a cover letter, not your autobiography.
Crunch some numbers
You know how people say actions speak louder than words? Scratch that – numbers speak the loudest! Quantifying your success makes your achievements easily digestible to the eye of the reader. If you’re a social media intern, include the amount of followers you’ve acquired since you started. If you’re an editorial intern, include how many articles you’ve written and the size of the audience it reached. Almost every quality has a quantity.
Ever think of giving your cover letter a headline? Sounds weird, right? This isn’t an English essay… But it turns out this formatting idea is an excellent way to catch an interviewer’s eye and encapsulate the key message of your letter.
Get to it already!
Short. Sweet. And to the point. Keep your cover letter to half a page, max. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes; would you really like to read tens of full page letters? Ensure your’s is fully read by embracing brevity.
Please don’t start your cover letter with “My name is __, and…” Don’t.. Just don’t… Your name is on your resume, remember? Get down to business and land the job.
Think these tips were helpful? View the entire article here!
A statement piece is not limited to bags, belts, or bracelets. The true fashionista possesses the bold gusto to make a statement through the majority of cloth encompassing his or her body. The anti-norm? Pants! Incorporating a printed pant radiates confidence in one’s uniqueness. Paired with docile counterparts, the look becomes admirable as opposed to over-done.
Love the look? Intern at the companies!