I still remember walking down the street each morning, eagerly anticipating what would happen when I arrived in the studio.
It was 2008, and I was a few weeks into an internship at CTV News. For years, I watched Lloyd Robertson and Lisa LaFlamme deliver the news. I never imagined that one day I’d be sitting a few feet away from them, chasing stories, and interviewing sources.
One day I’d be speaking to politicians, and on another I’d be joking with entertainers and athletes.
My first ever internship showed me how things worked in a national newsroom, and provided me with memories I still cherish today. After CTV, I completed another three internships before landing a job I love.
Internships provide valuable insight into how an organization functions, opportunities to network with experienced professionals, and show if a role is right for you.
If you’re starting to apply for internships, here are a few tips that helped me.
1. Look professional
When I was interviewing for internships, there were others who waited for their turn in jeans. Friends in human resources often share stories about potential interns and full-time job candidates who turn up in t-shirts or hoodies. Even if the company has a reputation for being casual, it’s important to be professionally dressed for the interview – you can embrace the less formal dress code after the role is yours. This shows the interviewer that you’re taking the process seriously, and they’ll know you are capable of being professional if a situation requires it.
2. Do your research
Each day during the week prior to my interview at CTV, I’d spend a few hours reading about the anchors, watching the newscasts, and learning about the company. It definitely paid off – about half of the interview questions were about recent stories and what drew me to the media outlet. By doing research about the company, you’ll be able to add breadth and depth to your interview answers. It will become clear that you’re interested in the company and what it does. Furthermore, it will show the interviewer you’re prepared.
Visit the company website, read its page on LinkedIn, do a Google search to learn what it’s been making news for recently.
On the flip side, sometimes you might realize a role isn’t right for you once you learn more about the company. This will save you and the interviewer time.
3. Be nice
As soon as you set foot in the door, be aware of the impression you’re making on people. A smile and open body language go a long way to creating a positive image, especially since you never know who could be wandering around the lobby. It could even be your interviewer or a senior staff member at the company! If you get the role, they may remember you, so make sure that memory is a good one.
4. Put away your phone
One thing remained consistent through all my internship interviews: the image of candidates sitting in the lobby with their phones out. Resist the temptation to scroll through Facebook or Twitter while you’re waiting for your interview. It will create the impression that you’re impatient and unprofessional. Before leaving the house, print documents with information about the company and your answers to questions the interviewer could ask. If you find yourself waiting before the interview, review these!