Yale Daily News Guide to Internships 2000

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9780684862835: Yale Daily News Guide to Internships 2000

Launch Your Career with the Right Internship.

Knowing where to apply doesn't mean anything if you don't know how to create a competitive application package. That's why Kaplan and the Yale Daily News teamed up to produce the Yale Daily News Guide to Internships, your "start-to-finish" guide to the entire internship process.

This complete guide includes:

* Student-to-Student Advice, from the real experts -- interns. In candid interviews with Yale Daily News reporters, past interns describe their experiences, offer advice, and give tips on how to make the most of your internship and build it into a rewarding career

* Special Internet Research Section outlining the ins and outs of finding hot internships on the Web

* Comprehensive List of Thousands of Internships in a wide range of fields, including business, entertainment, finance, public policy, technology, and more

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Résumés, Cover Letters, and Interviews
by Kalpana Srinivasan and Erin White

It's February, and you've decided that this summer, you're going to turn in the old lawnmower and burger flipper in favor of something new: a briefcase, a reporter's notebook, a stage prop, or a computer. In short, you want a summer internship. You want to get started on the long, winding path you will call your career. You're pretty pleased with yourself for making such a wise decision; you feel like you are on your way. But before you become too smug, you suddenly realize that it's February! Although some summer internships have late and rolling deadlines, starting your search this late will put you out of the running for many of them. You want to make all the right moves, and being late in the game is not one of them.

The first rule in the world of internships is to start early, whether you're looking for a summer internship or one that takes place during the academic year. Some people barely finish their summer internships before whipping out cover letters and résumés for the following summer. By mid-fall, some students may have already applied to a dozen places. If you start considering a summer internship in late winter, you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage in the internship hunt.

Consider early on what kind of work you would like to do and in what field. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which places candidates from around the country in Washington, DC, internships, advises that planning is a critical stage of the process. Before you start anything, you should know yourself and what you want to do. What is important to you -- money, status, advancement, recognition, independence? Assess your skills and experience so that you can clearly define them on your résumé.

After you have decided on the type of internship you would like to pursue, browse through the numerous listings in this book. Keep in mind, though, that these listings are only a sampling of the countless internships available to college students. If you don't find what you're looking for here, we encourage you to draw upon other resources as well. These include the career services office and library at your school. The chapter that follows this one, "The Intern-Net," will give you useful tips on how to use the Web to find great internship opportunities. Most importantly, don't ever get discouraged as you search -- good things come to those who persevere.

The Art of Schmoozing

Making connections can be a critical career move at any stage of the game. When you first start your internship hunt, try to make as many acquaintances in your field of interest as possible. Start by calling employees and human resource coordinators at companies in which you are interested. If you already know people in the industry, now is the time to solicit their opinions and help.

Once you have laid this groundwork, start using those connections. Suppose you once had an informational interview with a metro editor at a newspaper during which she told you about her job and experience. If you now decide to apply for an internship at that newspaper, be sure to mention your meeting with her. If in the course of networking, someone recommends that you contact a specific person, be sure to mention who referred you when you do get in touch.

Many students find alumni connections to be extremely useful. Check with your school's career services office or alumni office to find the names of alumni who have either interned or are working at the places in which you are interested. Then call or write them. If they are former interns of the company, this is a great chance to find out what it's like to intern there and what kinds of experiences you can expect. Often, former interns have a hand in recruiting new interns.

THAT OH-SO-IMPORTANT FIRST IMPRESSION

Once you've decided which companies you want to work with, you must make them want you. Application requirements vary. Some require you to type a formal application, some require transcripts, some require recommendations, and some require just a résumé But they all contribute to a first impression.

"Communication skills, written and oral, are very important. Make time to take that extra writing class or speech class; it will be well worth it," advises Darrell M. Ayers, the intern program coordinator at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Since the Center takes interns from across the country, many candidates do not have the opportunity to interview in person. Instead they are represented by their applications, so these applications had better be good. "The written information you send and how you communicate on the phone are what sells you," Ayers says. You owe it to yourself, then, to make sure the application package you put together reflects well on you, and shows what sets you apart from everyone else.

Staying in Control

Students often find that the internship application process can be a harrowing one. The only thing you can do to keep yourself from stressing out is to stay organized. Here are a few guidelines on how to do so:
* Make a list. Use a spreadsheet program to create a checklist of all the internships you plan to apply to, their contact information, the materials required for application, and pertinent deadlines.
* Start early! Many organizations require that you write to them in order to receive the correct application materials. You should work on your résumé line up references, and arrange for transcripts to be sent early in the application process. Never underestimate the power of getting a head start on things -- the earlier you can put your application in the mail, the better.
* Stay organized. As information about each internship comes pouring in, create a separate file folder for each place. Keep a record of any contact you have -- this includes phone conversations and e-mail!

YOUR RÉSUMÉ

Résumés may seem like a standard, no-big-deal part of your application. However, your résumé is, in most cases, the first impression you give to a company. While résumé formats are pretty standard (there are only so many ways to jazz up a résumé without being tacky), it's the content that should be special. When internship coordinators look at your résumé, they will generally look for the basics (courses, major, GPA, skills, etcetera) as well as a neat, clean, easy-to-read format. At the same time, they'll be looking for what sets you apart from other candidates and what strengths you have to offer.

The following are a few suggestions for résumé writing, from the top down.

Name and Address

You would think that people would agree on how to write the name and address, but they don't. Some say to spell out the whole state name and never abbreviate, some say to put parentheses around your area code, and others abhor it. The common sense approach says it doesn't matter. Is the heading neat and appropriate looking? Will an intern coordinator know how to get in touch with you? That's all that really matters.

Here's a good way to do it. Put your name centered at the top in bold, capital letters. Put the rest of the heading in lower case, and not in bold. On the line beneath your name, write your street address. On the next line, write your city, state, and zip code. On the final line, write your phone number. Include your e-mail address if you have one.

If your home address is different from your college address, and if you think an intern coordinator may need to know both, you can include both addresses by placing one to the left and one to the right, under your centered name.

Objective

Some people include an objective on their résumé that states in one line what they are looking for in an internship or what they hope to achieve through an internship. An objective is not a necessary part of a résumé and may take up precious space. Showing is better than telling. Highlighting your experience and interests might better serve the same purpose that an objective does.

There are two schools of thought on the objective. Some consider it to be too broad or meaningless, or, if written very specifically, too limiting. Others like objectives, because they help identify where a person might fit in.

The decision to include or exclude an objective is a personal one, but in the interest of space, think about what, if anything, an objective adds to your résumé. Perhaps you are really interested in working at a certain company and would be happy in any one of several different departments within the company. An objective may pigeonhole you, not allowing the scope you need to be considered for different kinds of positions. On the other hand, if you're focusing on a very specific internship position, and can clearly match the requirements of the job with the statement in your objective, go for it. Also, if there are a variety of internships that you're interested in, you could create a few versions of your résumé with different objectives to match.

Education

Put your educational background in reverse chronological order, and include your major. You may also want to point out areas of concentration or focus in your studies, published works, and special honors, specifically those that pertain to the field in which you want to work.

Regarding your GPA: Some employers will be more interested in your grades than others. But as one intern coordinator points out, if you have good grades, there's no reason to hide them. If you think your GPA may work against you, leave it off, but be prepared to answer questions about academic work in ah interview. In general, internship coordinators will want to know about your academic performance in order to measure your work ethic and skills.

Work Experience

This should also appear in reverse chronological order, listing the starting and ending dates and places of your employment and a description of the work you did. These descriptions are the place for you to highlight your experience and skills. Don't go into a detailed description of the organizations for which you've worked; instead, focus on what your responsibilities -- and preferably accomplishments -- have been. Use industry-specific jargon to show off your familiarity with the field in which you aim to work. Avoid personal pronouns and full sentences (not, "I developed a reliable spreadsheet system to aid the reporters" but "Developed reliable spreadsheet system to aid reporters.")

The following is a list of strong résumé words to choose from in describing your work experience:
achieved, acted, administered, advised, analyzed, arranged, assisted

balanced, budgeted

changed, collected, composed, conducted, confirmed, consolidated, controlled, converted, counseled, created

decreased, demonstrated, designed, developed, directed

edited, eliminated, established, expanded

facilitated, forecast

handled, helped

implemented, improved, initiated, installed, interfaced, introduced

joined

launched, led

maintained, managed

negotiated

obtained, organized, outlined

performed, positioned, prepared, presented, produced, promoted, provided

raised, realigned, recommended, reconciled, recruited, reduced, reengineered, reported, represented, researched, restructured, revised

scheduled, specialized, strengthened, succeeded, supervised

targeted, taught, trained

utilized

wrote

Room permitting, include all of your employment experience (except, of course, any jobs that you left after a couple of weeks), even the jobs that may not specifically apply to your field. A complete list will indicate the breadth of your work experience, and your flexibility in different work environments.

Skills

Computer skills are vital in today's workplace, so don't forget to list any software applications you are familiar with, any programming skills you may have, and the extent of your experience using the Internet. Employers are also generally interested in your proficiency in foreign languages.

Honors/Awards/Extracurriculars/Hobbies

Here's another shot at rounding yourself out as a candidate. Do you ride horses, white-water raft, or paint mosaics? Were you involved with your school's ballroom dance team, bowling league, or singing group? Did you receive special honors for your ability to analyze Greek epics, your skill in swimming, or your perfect GPA? Such details might jump start the conversation iff an interview. They also add a little life to a fiat piece of paper -- showing you as the multidimensional creature you really are. Warning: It's not a good idea to pad your résumé with activities that your roommate (and not yourself) participated in. You never know when an internship coordinator may actually ask you about your stint as the world chess champion.

RÉSUMÉ DESIGN

A résumé is not exactly the place to let your interest in cubist art express itself. Résumé design should be neat, readable, and graphically appealing. Figures 1, 2, and 3 show sample résumés for your reference.

A simple résumé design can be created on a word processor or using word processing software on a computer, it can even be done on a good typewriter. As long as you can type and use the spacebar, you should be able to handle this. For the more graphically inclined, desktop publishing software (such as QuarkXPress® or PageMaker®) allows you to play around with typefaces, point sizes, and spatial elements, just don't go overboard or use elaborate typefaces. Simple and legible are the keywords here. It also makes it easy to redesign your résumé in the future.

For most internship applicants, a one-page résumé will suffice. Any more than that gets longwinded and may turn off employers who are looking for a concise and accurate description of your background.

Again, if you are applying for different kinds of internships, you may need to come up with a few different versions of your résumé. For example, if you were applying for internships in science and public policy, one version of your résumé would highlight scientific research and course work and the other would emphasize experience and course work in public policy.

Finally, once you're happy with the content and design of your résumé, don't send out any copies until you've proofread. Proof it twice, and have someone else look at it a third time. Sloppy grammar and spelling won't impress anyone.

The Functional Résumé Option

Not everyone uses the traditional chronological résumé format; some opt for the "functional" format. A functional format organizes your experience by type. This format is helpful for people who have a variety of relatively unconnected work experiences, or who want to emphasize skills not used in recent jobs. It's also handy for people who have gaps in their work history -- and for that reason, it can seem suspicious to some employers. But since students aren't really expected to have a solid "work history," you might consider...

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Kaplan, Kalpana Srinivasan
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