By: Janina Camp
This time last year, I was a junior looking to secure an internship for the summer. I felt intimidated by the process, and after multiple rejections, I was starting to lose hope. Eventually, I landed a marketing internship with The Delaware River and Bay Authority, even though I was up against numerous applicants. What made me stand out amongst the others? In retrospect, I believe there are three things I did which gave me a competitive advantage.
1. Attend UD’s Career Fair and Research the Employers Beforehand
I discovered DRBA’s internship opportunities simply by searching on Google for marketing internships in my area. When spring semester came around, I noticed DRBA was attending UD’s career fair, so I took the opportunity to meet with them one on one. I met with a woman named Rosa, who was excited to hear that I was familiar with DRBA and had already applied for the marketing internship. She said she would put in a good word and help me interview with the marketing department.
If I hadn’t gone to the fair that day, it’s possible I would have never been offered an interview. At the end of the day, networking is vital and your connections are everything.
2. If Possible, Apply to Multiple Positions at the Same Company/Organization
While I was at the career fair, Rosa recommended that I apply for the communications internship. I had previously only applied for the marketing internship because that is the role I was most interested in. However, if there are multiple positions that you feel could match your skill set, why not apply to them all?
In retrospect, I can see more clearly how it benefited me to apply for both. I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for both positions, and because of that, both the communications department and marketing department knew my name. If I wasn’t a perfect fit for one of the roles– then I could be recommended for the other. In my opinion, it demonstrates your interest in the business and increases your chances of being selected.
3. Understand the Company/Organization and Position You’re Applying For
Always make sure you research what the business does, their history, and any other relevant information. This is especially important to do before an interview. The night before I had my interview for the communications internship, I made sure I would be able to answer the question “What do you know about the DRBA?” Which, to my surprise, was the first question they asked me – before they even asked me about myself.
Because of the research I did beforehand, I successfully answered the question and was told it was the best answer they’d heard in the many years they’d been interviewing. I was shocked, I thought my answer was relatively simplistic. It turns out – DRBA is a complex organization, and many misunderstand what they do, or don’t fully realize the breadth of each sector. “Once, someone said ‘uh, you do work with the water, and stuff’” said TJ, the man who interviewed me.
Even if you think you understand a business, always go back and check again. While they may not ask you, it’s important to be prepared if they do.
I hope my tips help you in your journey of securing an internship this summer! Remember that there are endless opportunities out there and I know anyone reading this is going to find success. Here are a few bonus tips:
- Always write a cover letter, even if it’s optional
- Bring a notepad and pen to the interview in case you need to write something down. It looks good if you are prepared.
- Email a thank-you note 24-48 hours after the interview
- Have confidence!