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You’re making a smart decision by applying for internships. Not only will you develop some great professional contacts, but you’ll have a powerful addition to your resume that will give you an advantage when you’re applying for jobs after graduation.

Some Maine companies that have internship opportunities available may choose to contact you by phone or ask you for a face-to-face interview to gauge your interest and background. Go ahead and express your interest if you hear from one of these companies, but you should not accept an oral offer over the phone or even in person. You should expect that an offer for an internship will be be made in writing (email is fine), and the offer should detail the location of the work, the responsibilities of the position, the number of hours you will be expected or allowed to work, the expected calendar dates for the internship, and the hourly rate of pay. Don’t forget to research any company online before accepting a position with it!

If you have only completed your first year of college education when you accept an internship position, remember that you have limited experience. When you start your internship, you may not get assigned complex tasks due to your limited experience. Don’t get discouraged! Students who have completed several years of university education will probably get more opportunities to use apply all their knowledge.

Finally, remember that when you accept an offer for an internship, you can no longer accept a competing offer at a later date. In fact, you should update your online resume to reflect your existing employment. Remember to always be professional!

TIPS FOR STUDENTS

  • Start to prepare early in the school year. The career fair and internship recruiting process begins in October for many employers.
  • Prepare a resume AND a cover letter. Get help from your guidance office if this is your first time. Ask a few people to proof it—typos and formatting issues can keep you from making it through the initial resume screen by employers.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile, add your resume, and keep your profile up to date.
  • Do some research on the companies you are interested in. What do they do? What are their products? What is their culture like? What makes you want to work there?
  • Give thought to what you want to get out of an internship. What are your goals? Be specific.
  • If you have a job description—read it and think about skills you possess that could make you successful. Also think about what learning curves you may face and how you would overcome them.
  • Practice your interviewing skills. Reach out to your guidance office or an adult who may have experience interviewing job candidates. Practicing will help to make the real interview feel less stressful for you.
  • Think about the experiences you have had so far. For instance, think of times you have demonstrated leadership, initiative and problem solving skills.
  • Know your strengths. What are they and how might you describe them to a potential employer? Think about examples you might share of times you used your strengths. If you are unsure of your strengths, ask some friends or family members to share what they see in you.
  • Know your resume—be prepared to elaborate on the things you have included.
  • Look prepared and professional. Whether it is an interview or an informal discussion at a career fair, employers are trying to picture you in their workplace. Think about what kind of impression you want to make before you show up in torn jeans or a wrinkled shirt.
  • Relax! You represent possibilities and fresh ideas to these employers. They are looking forward to meeting you!
  • Once you are hired—be an engaged learner. Many employers seek interns who demonstrate curiosity, strong initiative, thoroughness and the ability to deliver quality results.