Highlight skill experience during internship interviews

Mahalee Evans, Forum contributor

It’s that time of the year again-the sun is shining, the birds are singing-you can practically smell summer from around the corner.

And then you think about the dreaded “I” word. That’s right, people.

It’s internship season.

No matter what major you come from, whether it’s music, zoology, physics, engineering or business, it’s undeniable that internships are a Hulk-sized stepping stone to getting your feet into the door of whatever career you are chasing after.

“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent”, which is one definition from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

While there is a substantial amount of importance placed on having the right GPA, being involved in extra-curricular activities, and hopefully exhibiting interest in the position, it has been my personal and observed experience that potential employers are equally or more interested in whether or not students can actually hold a conversation.

Employers want to know that millennials possess the capabilities of looking up from their textbooks and smartphones long enough to engage in a face-to-face, professional conversation.

At the end of an interview that I recently had, I was told the following:

My GPA matters but it’s not a big deal.

The school I’m coming from matters but it’s not a big deal.

The selling points that seemed vital to them were that I could be engaged in the conversation, I wouldn’t be afraid to speak up, and I could get along and work well with (in this context my interviewers, but essentially) co-workers.

Granted, if you are getting to this point in the conversation, chances are they have already determined how the actual interview has gone. Just remember that they have already read your resume and cover letter-that’s why you got called in for an interview in the first place.

A job is about how competent you are in what you were hired to do, most definitely. However, the average workplace involves more than just doing your part and calling it quits. The interactions between fellow co-workers can mean a lot for a company’s productivity, efficiency and quality of work.

Highlight your expertise, make your accomplishments known, but just know that there are probably 20 other people with the exact same things on their resumes.

What stands out is you, so use it.

The opinions expressed in Evans’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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