The secret to getting a great internship is that there is no secret. Lots of time must to be spent researching a company and revising your application materials. Luckily, there are just a few things that you need to focus your time on to maximize your efficiency and walk into an interview prepared.
Attend the Career Fairs: “Career fairs are the first step in the recruiting process. If you’re interested in working at HLK, this is one of the best ways to have face to face time with recruiters and get your foot in the door. It also gives us the opportunity to connect with students who show that they are interested in the industry and demonstrate a passion for learning,” says Meredith Osborn, HR director at HLK. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sea of booths and employers at career fairs. Contact your career center to get a list of which companies are attending and do your research. Make sure to do your homework before approaching any recruiter; this is your chance to make a great first impression.
Be Versatile: The ability to adapt and evolve your skills on a consistent basis is key to being a team member at HLK. Meredith says, “We look for reliability, ambition, trainability, social skills, time-management and self-management. We look for students that can gain these experiences in and outside of class. For example, handling school and a consistent involvement in extracurricular activities demonstrates your time management, which is highly valuable in an agency.”
Perfect your Resume and Portfolio: Since HLK receives hundreds of applications and recruiters talk to numerous students, the best way to stand out is with a resume and portfolio representative of you. “While grades are important, leadership capabilities and involvement in extracurriculars make a candidate particularly noteworthy,” says Meredith. “In terms of portfolios, those applicants that take the time to build their own site with their own personality are the ones that really stand out.”
Prepare for your interview: HLK looks for applicants that not only perform well on paper, but also in person. Meredith values candidates who are capable of making insightful conclusions as well as demonstrating a curiosity about the company itself.
1. Research: “Show me that you’ve done your research; do some background history and look at our case studies. Be able to make connections between your portfolio and HLK’s digital work.”
2. Questions: “Ask questions about the agency, but don’t be afraid to also ask about the specifics about the job. I appreciate when applicants are transparent about what they don’t know and are capable of showing me how they are willing to learn these things.”
3. Body Language: “Body language, such as direct eye-contact, nodding, and leaning in, all tell me that a person is a great communicator and would do well when working with clients and establishing relationships.”
Be Persistent: HLK looks for candidates that are able to effectively network and create relationships. While you may feel like you are being annoying, Meredith values applicants who demonstrate their interest by reaching out directly to her. “Don’t wait for us to come to you. Taking this extra step shows us that you are interested and determined.”
Be HLK: Finally, HLK values a person whose work ethic and values align with those of the company. “Above all, we look for fit with our core values: Be Brave, Be Curious, Be Thoughtful.”
While the task of applying to internships may seem daunting, remember that everything you need, you already have. It’s simply a matter of organizing your materials, understanding and communicating your talents, and presenting your passions in line with the mission of HLK.