I'm an Operations Director in a large technology company, and I'd like to share with you what I look for in a successful intern. We love working with interns, and I find that I often learn so much from them. Their fresh perspective, enthusiasm, curiosity, fearlessness and willingness to jump right in always provides a great boost for the business.
When hiring an intern I look for the following on a resume:
- engagement and participation in school/community: is this student active and how does she contribute to her community? does she show passion in something. For example, maybe she leads an LGBTQ group on campus, maybe he leads or is active in a gun violence prevention group - something that shows passion and interest
- Education: what does this candidate study in school and how well does she or he perform?
- Work experience: Has this candidate held part-time jobs or worked in other capacities at school. Former internship experience is a plus, but more important is to demonstrate that you're a responsible person who has worked in some capacity.
When interviewing a candidate, here's what I consider:
I do not look for specific experience in our industry. An internship will help him or her GET exposure and experience to our industry. I look, instead, for curiosity (in class or in her work, does she seek new ways to learn and grow?), a learning mindset (does she get excited about learning new things?), collaboration (how well does s/he work with teams like group projects at school? can she give good examples of how she works with her peers in school projects?), preparation (has he prepared for the interview by learning about our company and can he describe why he feels our company is a good fit for him)
Maia recommends the following next steps:
- Explore internship fairs at your school, if that's available to you. Or, if you have specific companies in mind, explore their programs on the website.
- Once you've identified a company, be sure to be specific in your application or introduction letter about why you feel their company is a good fit for your career goals.
- Have fun and work hard! internships are a great way to learn and get experience.