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Top tips that will make you ace any internship interview

Summer is the ideal time for students to put the theoretical aspects of a profession into practise.

Undertaking an internship or getting some work experience is a great way to ascertain whether you can visualise yourself working in the industry and figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

The teaching material that we consume and the workshops/seminars that we attend at university lay the rudimentary stepping stones to constructing our knowledge. The golden key, however, is acquiring hands-on experience. This enables students to utilise information learned and apply it in a practical way, or observe the ways in which they are applied. Aside from networking opportunities and learning crucial skills, there are a myriad of benefits for students that have the experience of securing an internship/work experience. Here are some top tips that can help you in the interview process.

Get informed 

Get a good perspective of (what will hopefully be) your future employer. Read the mission statement of the company and understand what their values are — what skills and accolades do they pride themselves in? What do they stand for? Apart from a brief browse through the homepage of the company, read about how the company got established and what skills they value in their employees.

Contact any people you might know in the industry and ask for advice. Reach out to any alumni that you know may have connections in this field for last-minute tips and advice.

Researching who exactly you want to be interning for is a great way to convey that you have shown interest in understanding what the company stands for, as well as what the company has to offer that has led you to choose a specific company to carry out your internship.

Sell your skills

Your prospective employer will be curious to hear about any work experience you have. It isn’t paramount to have work experience that is exactly in line with the career you’re aspiring. However, it is important for employers to see that you have acquired, or are actively developing, certain transferable or soft skills. Such skills will include: leadership, strong communication and interpersonal skills and teamwork.

It’s vital that you “show don’t tell”. The number of skills that you have is not as important as the way in which you have applied and developed those skills in various settings. Cast a spotlight on the skills you have acquired that deem you to be a good fit for the company.

Dress to impress

First impressions count. An individual, in a matter of seconds, can construct a narrative about you from the second they look at you. With such a quick — yet critical — screening, it’s important that you can convey a professional and confident stance. Adhering to a formal dress code is a great way to convey the message that professionalism is essentially an important part of you and that you respect the simple fact that the workplace is a professional environment.

Concise and clear is the best way to steer

It’s not unusual to feel a bit of nerves when you are in a new environment, but the best thing you can do is to take your time when answering questions. Ensure that your speech is formal, clear and thorough. The manner in which you present yourself holds as much substance as the actual content of your speech. It doesn’t hurt to practise answering typical interview questions in front of the mirror and think about any questions that most likely will be asked.