A mini-internship isn’t just the stuff of fairy tales and urban legends anymore. These days, the mini-internship is a way to pack in multiple experiences with multiple companies. When companies see a mini internship packed with great experiences, they’re much more likely to look at you as a solid contender. A long summer internship with nothing to really show for it makes one assume that you’re just coasting along. You showed up on time every day, but you really did nothing of notice. That leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the interviewer. After all, if you didn’t do anything cool during the internship, what makes them think that you’re going to do anything valuable at a real job?
Repairing your reputation takes a lot more time than starting out on good terms.
The mini internship can be used to steer your career to a bigger, brighter stage. Here’s four quick tips you can use to make your mini-internship dreams come true.
1. Stay Honest
You’re still an intern, even if you go with the mini internship. Beware of inflating your credentials to a point that they just don’t sound believable. Prospective hiring types know when you can’t deliver on the things you say in your resume, so just be honest from the start. If they’re asking for a skill that you want to learn anyway, tell them you don’t know, but you can share what you do know related to that skill. Sometimes all you have to do to get through a door is push.
2. Have a Mission For Each Company
You probably have an idea of what you want the company to do for you, naturally. You want to get paid and learn stuff. But if you can get a clear idea of what “stuff” means in this context, then you have better negotiation during a real interview. Having a mission for every company means that it’s a two-way street. You’re not just taking money for sitting on Facebook. You’re creating valuable additions to whatever project that you’re assigned. Keep in mind that a mini-internship will most likely still demand that you deal with any project, even if it’s not glamorous. Take it as a learning experience and soak up as much as you can. It will pay off in the long run, don’t sweat it!
3. Approach the Right Person
Look up each company separately and take notes. How do you need to speak with? If you’re not sure who to talk to, you can always call the main switchboard. They will most likely connect you to HR. Be honest and just tell them you’re looking to talk to someone about internship opportunities. Who would you address your letter of interest to? If they try to tell you there’s nothing available, tell them that you would still like the contact information to try again next year? Nothing in the corporate world is set in stone. You never know when you’ll have a chance to connect with someone, so get everyone’s contact information from the beginning.
4. Get the Little Details Right
The worst thing in the eyes of an interviewer is an applicant that doesn’t get the little details right. Again, they only have one chance to really get an idea of what you’re going to be like that doesn’t involve hiring you to find out. So if you show up late, or you can’t see to find your notes, or you don’t seem to be able to make eye contact, these points are going to stick out big time.
You also want to try to give a firm handshake and show that you really want the position. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to suck up or be a brownnoser, but you do need to demonstrate that you have some value to offer.
At the end of the day, value is really all that you have to give a company. In return, they will show you the ropes and help give you a solid idea of what you can expect from a big company. If you want to stay small, however, you shouldn’t overlook small businesses.