Washington, DC Summer Intern: Kendra McCarthy

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Career, College, Featured Intern, Internship, Michigan State University, Social Work, Washington | Tags: , , , , |

Meet Kendra, a driven individual majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies at MSU who completed the summer internship program in Washington, DC through the College of Social Science Study and Internship Programs. Read what she has to say about her experience and the hustle and bustle of a big city like Washington, DC.

Kendra McCarthy Portrait

Name: Kendra McCarthy

Hometown: Sturgis, MI

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science

Graduation: May/August 2014

Internship Placement: YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

Internship Location: YMCA of Arlington


What were your primary responsibilities at your internship?

I was responsible for creating and updating a roster of all the children attending Camp Letts, a camp that has 9 sessions throughout the summer. I was in charge of keeping track of the children’s session choices, transportation needs, payments, scholarship funding, and collecting forms.  


What was one of your fondest highlights of your internship? A highlight of my internship was being able to send children to camp, the other day I received an email from a mother thanking me and the YMCA for giving her children the chance to go to camp. She expressed how the YMCA is such a great support for her children. I forwarded it to my supervisor and she said times like these make her realize how worth it all is to her.


What was the biggest adjustment you had to make living in Washington, DC? The rush is a big adjustment. People are always on the go, it’s so busy here. There are so many people and everyone has somewhere they need to be “right now”. It’s a very fast paced environment, especially with taking the metro!


How has your internship enhanced your academic and career plans? I am interested in non profits and social work. I was able to see how much work goes into providing just one program for a community. And I was able to see the number of people impacted by one organization. I met someone who started out as a social worker in the schools and now he is a director of the child care program. That was encouraging because it has opened my eyes to the possibility of doing more than what I originally planned. Before I never considered being the director of any type of program, but to see he started out as a social worker lets me know I am on the right track.


Why should an MSU student apply to this internship program? You get the chance to live in another city without worrying about paying any bills! The only thing I knew before coming here was that I wanted to go to grad school after graduation, but coming here has given me clarity as to what exactly I want to do and what I need to do to get there. I have met some amazing people and made some great connections that I hope to continue after I leave here. The workshops and experience are both really beneficial; they teach you things that you would never learn in a classroom. They are life skills and experience that you can take with you even after you have left MSU.

The YMCA is one of our long-standing internship opportunities for students in many of the program cities.  The YMCA is known for being the “gold standard” in youth programming and their interns come away with valuable knowledge in this area and something that stands out on their resume.  If you are interested in a YMCA internship, please call 517-432-4541 to learn more about these programs.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

San Francisco Bay Area Intern: Brandi Skanes

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Career, College, Featured Intern, Internship, Michigan State University, San Francisco | Tags: , , , , , , |

Continuing our intern series with a feature on  Brandi  Skanes, Psychology and Marketing major who traveled to the West Coast for her internship.  As part of MSU’s partnership with Academic Internship Council, students have an opportunity to gain experience in the San Francisco Bay  Area while living near Berkeley.

Brandi Skanes Portrait

Name: Brandi Skanes

Hometown: Kentwood, MI

Major: Psychology & Marketing

Graduation Date: Spring 2017

Internship Placement: DSM Biomedical – Communications Intern

Internship Location: Berkeley, CA

What were your primary responsibilities at your internship?

My internship had four main focuses which include external communications, internal communications, CRM maintenance, and market research. So I have different projects within each focus.

What were some main projects you had worked on?

My main project was confidential, but I was doing research on our company’s competitors and customers. My side projects included cleaning up the CRM database that contains all customer and vendor information. My main project for internal communication was updating the news blog for the DSM Corporate Biomedical channel, and then the individual offices within the biomed field. For the external communications project, my supervisor showed me the steps of how we rebranded our company, and why the brand turned out the way it has. After learning about the brand, my supervisor, the senior communications specialist, and I worked on a video project. Again, I can’t say much about it because it was confidential.

What was one of the highlights of your internship?

There have been so many. Because I made a great amount of progress on my main projects, my supervisor gave me the opportunity to expand further than just learning about marketing and communications. She suggested I join a different subcommittee within the company that doesn’t have a connection to marketing, yet could teach me how to work within a group, and how to be creative and grab people’s attention through the material I present to them.

How has your internship experience enhanced your academic and/or career plans?

It has made me realize that I do want to have a career in a marketing or communications department but in an industry I am more interested in.

If you would like to learn more about a San Francisco Bay Area internship experience, please visit http://socialscience.msu.edu and check the event calendar for upcoming meetings or call 517-432-4541 for an appointment.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Washington, DC Summer Intern: Andrew Koprowski

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Featured Intern, Internship, Jobs, Michigan State University, Professionalism, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , |

Meet Andrew Koprowski, James Madison/Economics major who interned in Washington, DC during summer 2014 for Senator Debbie Stabenow.  Andrew was also MSU’s DC Program Ambassador. Read on to learn about the work he accomplished during his internship on Capitol Hill and how it will help him as he continues to explore career options.

Andrew Koprowski portrait

Name: Andrew Koprowski

Hometown: Flint, Michigan

Major: Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy and Economics

Graduation: Fall 2015

Internship Placement: Legislative Intern at the Office of Senator Stabenow

Internship Location: Hart Senate Building in Washington DC

What were your primary responsibilities at your internship?

I was assigned to a legislative team that specifically focused on tax legislation, economic development, small business development, and mortgages and housing legislation. As a legislative intern I researched current events that focus on the areas of concern for my legislative mentors as well as attended hearings and wrote memorandums for both the LA’s and the LC’s. In addition to research, I performed administrative tasks such as answering phone calls, data base management, as well as responding to constituent concerns via email and telephone calls.

What was one of your biggest projects that you had worked on?

One of my biggest projects focused on developing a co-sponsor memorandum for Senator Stabenow. The memorandum discussed the Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development Act. My legislative mentor wanted me to address what the CREED Act was, why Senator Stabenow should co-sponsor it and other background information about the piece of legislation. The project took over a week to complete simply because it required very in depth research that addressed the possible benefits and consequences of the CREED Act.

What was one of your fondest highlights of your internship?

One of the highlights of my internship was on June 17. I had volunteered to help the Agricultural Committee set up for a large event that they were hosting and I felt obligated to volunteer because Senator Stabenow is the Chair person on the committee. This experience was so rewarding because I was able to work one on one with Bill Sweeney, the Chief of Staff for Senator Stabenow. I had the honor to speak to Mr. Sweeney and it turned into an informational interview. I learned a lot from Mr. Sweeney and he offered me great advice on networking, how to secure a job after graduation on Capitol Hill, and his personal advice about graduate school and when to go. Not only did I get to meet Mr. Sweeney, I had the opportunity to meet with CEO’s and representatives from major corporations like Coca-Cola, GM, Ford, etc.

Why should an MSU student apply to this internship program?

I highly recommend this program to any MSU student who is serious about their future academic and career goals. The MSU study away program in DC is an incredible experience and can open so many doors. Students will learn so many valuable life lessons, including how to properly budget and save money, as well as how to network in a professional setting. The relationships you create while you are in DC are very important and the program introduces students to many networking opportunities. In addition, Vicki Shaver does a wonderful job connecting students to potential internships and works extremely hard to find students the right internship. She was the reason I got my internship and I give her so much credit because she does her job extremely well.

If you would like to learn more about MSU’s College of Social Science Study and Internship programs you can visit http://socialscience.msu.edu or email Study.Away@ssc.msu.edu to schedule a meeting with a program coordinator. Washington, DC programs run every semester!


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

New Orleans Featured Intern: Ashley Brown

Posted on September 24, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Internship, Michigan State University | Tags: , , , , |

Ashley NOLA

In this installment of featured interns you hear from Ashley Brown, who interned last summer in New Orleans. 

Name: Ashley Brown
Major: Political Science, Pre- Law
Graduation Date: Spring 2014
Internship Placement: Apex Youth Center and Court Watch NOLA
Internship Location: New Orleans, LA 

What were your primary responsibilities at your internship?

Well I had two internships one with Courtwatch NOLA, and the other with Apex Youth Center. For the Court-watch internship my basic duties were to report to court at least twice a week and to follow and take record of whatever cases were assigned to me for that date. The youth center internship basically involved watching over children ages 11-16 and helping out with homework, social skills, and anything else that they may have needed.

What was your favorite thing about working / living in New Orleans?

My favorite thing about working and being in New Orleans was being able to explore the city and not really knowing what I would find. It was really nice being somewhere different for a change.

How has your internship experience impacted your academic and/or career plans?

The experience was wonderful and I learned a lot about my field, thanks to the court- watch experience. Now I know for sure that it is criminal law that I would like to practice, and am looking forward to the pursuit once I graduate and get into a graduate school.

Tell us one amazing or surprising highlight of your internship.  Are there any “AHA” moments?

The real highlight of my experience was getting through to some of the children that I was working with. I have to admit I wasn’t sure at first about taking on the Apex internship because I’m not a huge fan of children. But working with them so closely and getting to know them so well they helped me just as much as I was able to help all of them. I was even tearful when it came time for me to leave and to my surprise so were a few of them.

If you are interested in a community-based internship experience in New Orleans you can find information on this website and watch a presentation, too.  If you still have questions, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

New Orleans Featured Intern: Nishat Islam

Posted on September 13, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Featured Intern, Internship, Michigan State University, Personal Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Here is another installment of the featured intern series. This one highlights Michigan State University’s New Orleans study and internship program.  Meet Nishat! Below is a photo of Nishat with some of the beads she collected while in New Orleans.


Name:  Nishat Islam

Major: IDS – Health and Society

Graduation Date: May 2013

Internship Placement: Tulane University Community Health Clinic

Internship Location: New Orleans 


How did you learn about MSU’s Study and Internship programs and why did you choose to apply?

 I learned about the MSU’s Study and Internship programs by complete accident.  I was browsing for classes on MSU Scheduler and saw that some classes were offered in other countries, particularly one in Bangladesh.  Although that one didn’t work out, I was really interested in having a new experience in another place other than MSU campus. 

What were your primary responsibilities at your internship? 

I became the manager of the Computer Literacy program at the TUCHC.  I managed our client list, matched teachers with students, taught students of my own how to use computers, and rewrote the entire computer curriculum. 

What was your favorite thing about working / living in New Orleans?  

My favorite thing about living in New Orleans was the warm and open environment.  Everyone is so friendly and helpful and it just felt like anything and everything could happen.  There were just SO many opportunities waiting to happen. 

How has your internship experience impacted your academic and/or career plans?

Being closer to the target groups that I want to work with was amazing.  It has only reconfirmed my dreams of helping populations who need help accessing equal healthcare. 

Tell us one amazing or surprising highlight of your internship.  Are there any “AHA” moments?

 I think one the things that never failed to surprise me was how caring and open people can be.  Every day, everyone worked together to make lives of others better and it just made them happy to make others happy.  I loved it and I was surprised how addicting it could be to hear a laugh in relief or a smile when you help someone out.

If you were speaking to an MSU student who was thinking about applying to an internship program, what would you say to convince them?

I would tell them that the experiences you have during your internship programs are definitely not the same ones you would have on campus.  It will change you and open you up to new experiences you never would have thought to try before and you will be SO glad for it!  Never be afraid of change and embrace it.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Washington, DC Featured Intern: Meet Steve Ciranna

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Featured Intern, Internship, Life, Michigan State University, Professionalism | Tags: , , , , , |

photoWelcome to a new series of blog posts highlighting Michigan State University students participating in College of Social Science Study Away Programs.  Stephen Ciranna is the first student being featured. He is part of one of the most popular programs offered at MSU, the Washington, DC Summer Internship Program.  Meet Steve Ciranna!


Name: Stephen R. Ciranna

Major: Economics specializing in Political Economy 

Graduation Date: May 2014

Internship Placement: Congressmen Bill Huizenga’s office

Internship Location: Washington D.C. 

How did you learn about MSU’s Study and Internship programs and why did you choose to apply?

 I wanted to intern in DC ever since my sophomore year of college and stumbled upon the program while exploring the Social Science website.  I quickly realized that this program was the best way for me to achieve my goal of interning in DC.

 What are your primary responsibilities at your internship?

 My main roles are to work directly with the Congressmen’s constituents, whether I’m working on phone calls, writing letters or leading Capitol Hill tours.  I research current and future policy and write memos on committee meetings, briefings and other events occurring on Capitol Hill.  I also, conduct any task that the office needs me to do which can vary a lot which keeps me on my toes each day!

 What’s your favorite thing about working / living in Washington, DC? 

 I love how the work being done all around this city is so important for the entire world and is directly impacting American citizen’s lives.  I like to believe the work that I am doing has a small, but positive impact for Americans as well.

 How has your internship experience impacted your academic and/or career plans?

This internship has helped me see the real impacts of the economic policies that I have studied intensively in East Lansing, helping me to deepen my knowledge in the subject I enjoy so much.  Also, through networking, I have learned countless new career possibilities that I can pursue here in DC that would go along with my studies, interests, and career goals.

 Tell us one amazing or surprising highlight of your internship.  Are there any “AHA” moments?

 Every day I experience a surprising “AHA” moment on Capitol Hill here in DC.   Whether, it is encountering Congressmen Huizenga’s interactions with other members or constituents, something new I learn through intensive research, discussions with knowledgeable and experienced staffers, or just running around the Capitol doing a task for the office.  The most surprising highlight however, is the fact that everyone here in Washington wants you to learn and grow and that is what allows you to experience these “AHA” moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.


Are YOU interested in a Capitol Hill internship?  Representative Huizenga’s Office has opportunities available each semester.  Visit his website for details: http://huizenga.house.gov/constituentservices/internships.htm. If you are pursuing a career in policy or law, a Capitol Hill internship is a major asset to your resume.

Be sure to explore https://msustudyprograms.wordpress.com to learn about study and internship opportunities in Washington, DC, as well as in our other off campus locations.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

10 Internship Search Mistakes

Posted on July 18, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Internship, Jobs | Tags: , , , |


One of the books that we recommend to students as they begin to explore internships is What Color is your Parachute? For Teens by Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles. It’s a wonderful resource that helps young people understand their passion and how to translate that into a career path. Toward the end of the book they list ten mistakes that job hunters make and ways to avoid them. In large part, these same mistakes are often made by students taking on their first internship search. I have updated Christen and Bolles’ list to apply to these students.

Ten Internship Search Mistakes & How to Avoid Making Them

1. Carrying an Attitude of Entitlement
No one owes you an internship opportunity. In fact, a quality internship takes time and effort on the part of the employer. Just because most internships are unpaid, does not mean that the employer is getting “free labor.” The employer is taking time and resources to help train students in their field of interest. Students should approach potential employers with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Make sure the employer knows that they will be benefitting from the experience, too.

2. Spending Very Little Time on the Search
A successful internship search is related to the amount of time a student devotes to it. I advise students to treat an internship search like another course and devote two to three hours per week for approximately 10 weeks prior to the desired start date. Enter this time on your calendar and stick to the schedule. This time might be spent on resume writing and application preparation, securing letters of recommendation, studying career preparation resources, meeting with professionals or researching potential sites.

3. Sticking with Techniques that are not Working
Many students are comfortable with Google searching for internships, which is indeed a good way to learn what’s out there. However, if you have only been applying to positions that you find via Google AND you have not yet secured an interview, it’s probably time to switch it up. Other social media outlets such as LinkedIn or Twitter might offer better or different leads. Getting in touch with contacts made through networking and school resources is another route. Try some face-to-face interaction with an informational interview to see where it might lead.

4. Ignoring Advice from Experts
Do you know someone who has already found an internship…or two? How did they do it? What is their secret for success? Your school has career advisors and resources. Your family, friends and professors are already part of your network. Use them! Don’t be shy. Most people are happy to talk about their experiences and offer advice.

5. Taking Internships Lightly
Don’t dabble in your search; commit to it. Securing a quality internship has become an important and necessary step in launching your career. Not taking it seriously can result in negative consequences as you move forward. As mentioned under #2, regularly schedule time each week to devote to your internship search. Become absorbed in every aspect of it, including doing mock interviews, researching industry trends, and shopping for appropriate attire.

6. Failing to Plan Financially
Since most internships are unpaid, it is crucial for students to consider how they will manage their monthly expenses while they are devoting time to unpaid work. Is there time for a part time paid job, too? Do you have money in savings to carry you through? Look for scholarships and loans that will support the extra expenses associated with internship work, especially if it is out of town. Establish a budget for the duration of your internship and stick to it.

7. Becoming Discouraged and Giving Up
You need to develop a thick skin and an optimistic attitude as you go through an internship search. You cannot take it personally if you do not hear back from a potential employer or if no offer comes after a good interview. Being persistent and keeping a positive attitude are necessary. Finding the right internship does not happen overnight and it takes hard work. Stay dedicated and you will be rewarded.

8. Limiting your Internship Options
Don’t make your search too narrow or focus on only one target organization or position. Many college graduates do not work in a field related to their major, but that doesn’t mean that they’re unhappy! Keep an open mind and focus on the soft skills that can be gained from any good internship experience. Often employers are looking for a broad set of qualifications (communication skills, critical thinking, team player) and will train entry level employees in the specifics of the field. Internships are a great training ground for the fundamentals of professionalism.

9. Looking Only at Advertised Positions
Just because you haven’t seen your dream internship advertised doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Many positions are filled by word of mouth, not through internet ads. Talk to people and tell them what you are looking for. Follow up on all leads. If you don’t’ see an internship listed on XYZ Corporation’s website, call them to see if they might be interested in an intern. Don’t be satisfied with what you see first – keep looking until you find what you want!

10. Going it Alone
For most students, an internship search is their first real exposure to career exploration. The internship itself is a learning experience, but so is the search. Don’t try to do it on your own. At the very least find a buddy to search with you. As a student you have many resources such as a career center, access to online career assessments and interview software, and career advisors. However, don’t forget to include family and friends in your plans. You never know who Uncle Sid might know!

Christen, C. & Bolles, R.N. (2010). What color is your parachute? For teens. Second Edition. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Communicating with Internship Sites

Posted on February 6, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Internship, Jobs | Tags: , , , , |



A question that many students have when launching their own internship search is: How do I check on the status of my application? This is a good question.

Confirm Receipt of Application

First you should verify receipt of your materials – is your application complete?  You can email or call to do this, or they may send you an automated confirmation. This should be done within one week of applying. This is an important step, so don’t be tempted to skip it. 

Determining a Timeline

On the internship’s website they may provide a timeline for selection. If so, do not contact them unless it’s past their timeline for contacting applicants and you still have not heard back.  If they do not provide a timeline (most don’t) it is important to contact them to reaffirm your interest and try to determine their timeline. Knowing when they plan to interview and make their selections will take a lot of the worry and guessing out of the equation.  The best way to do this is by phone (makes you more “real”), but email is fine, too. 

Two Week Rule

After learning that your application is complete, wait two weeks before contacting them again. This is what I call the Two Week Rule.  If you send an email inquiry or leave a phone message but do not get a response it’s fair to contact them again in two weeks.  As you can see, this is all a bit of a balancing act between being a pest and being persistent. You want them to know that you are serious about your interest in an internship with them.  Waiting too long can be even worse than contacting them too often.

TIP: Sometimes a follow up phone call will turn into a spontaneous interview if you catch the right person at the right time. So, be prepared when you call.  On the other hand, it can be difficult to get someone on the phone, so you may have to keep trying.


Sample Communication

Dear Internship Coordinator (better if you have an actual name): 

This email is in follow up to my application for a policy internship in your organization.  I am very interested in this position and would like to inquire as to your timeline for interviewing and selection. Feel free to contact me by email reply or phone at (999)123-4567.  I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about this great opportunity. 


On January 25th I submitted my application for a summer internship with Senator Stabenow’s Office.  This is an opportunity that I am very interested in as it fits perfectly with my academic focus.  Do you know when I can expect to hear back regarding that status of my application?  You can reach me…. 

Thank you for your time,


Of course you can personalize this in any way you’d like, but keep it brief and to the point.  If you have not confirmed that they have received your materials, you could also address that in your email.

If there isn’t a specific person or email associated with the internship application, just use whatever email you find – usually listed under Contact Information on the website.  Then, instead of addressing it to the internship coordinator you can use “To Whom it May Concern” and ask to have your email directed to the appropriate person.

Requesting NO CALLS?

You may run into “no calls or emails” listed on an intern application. You do need to respect that, but this gives you no opportunity for knowing your status.

Internship Insights

You can learn a lot about what it might be like to work for an organization (or a specific supervisor) as an intern from these interactions.  Personally, if an internship site requests no calls, I put them at the bottom of my priority list.  That request in and of itself comes across as a bit disrespectful of interns.  However, if they are a very high-profile organization and provide timeline information on their application, then I’m not as bothered by this.

If an internship site/supervisor is good at returning your calls/emails, you might be able to gather that they are organized and that the internship has some structure to it.

Bottom line?  Trust your instincts when communicating with internships and when deciding to accept or decline an offer.  Rules are great as a guide, but nothing beats using your actual experiences and exchanges to gather information and make a decision that is the right for YOU!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Before you Arrive at your Internship

Posted on August 21, 2012. Filed under: Career, College, Internship, Jobs, Professionalism | Tags: , , , , |

Communicating with Your Internship – Prior to Arrival

If you have not communicated with your internship supervisor a week or two prior to your arrival to determine logistics of your first day, you should do so.  Call (preferred) or email the appropriate person to let them know that you are looking forward to beginning your internship, and to confirm or determine important information regarding your first day.

Things to cover:

When and Who:  Be sure they know when to expect you – what day you plan to begin work.  Determine what time you need to report, and who you are to report to on your first day.

Where:  Get the physical address of the office, including room number.  Sometimes the mailing address is different than the actual office location.  Ask for directions, parking options and if there is a preferred entrance.

Dress Code:  If they have not provided you with a dress code, you should ask if there is one, or if they have any suggestions regarding attire.  Remember that first impressions count!

Paperwork: If they have not asked you to complete any paperwork, you might ask if there are any forms they need you to complete prior to your first day, or if there is any recommended reading.  (You should have already become familiar with the organization via their website – if you haven’t — do it now!)  If you have completed paperwork for them, did they receive it?

Taking a little time to touch base before you arrive will reduce some of the stress that you might be feeling as you begin the new learning experience.


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Accepting, Declining and Negotiating Offers

Posted on August 6, 2012. Filed under: Career, College, Internship, Jobs | Tags: , , , |

Most of the students that I work with don’t believe me when I tell them that they will likely be juggling multiple internship offers before settling on one that best fits what they are looking for.  However, that is exactly what happens to a large number of them…especially students with a great resume, and the ability to communicate well with internship sites.

But sure enough, every cycle I get panicked students with questions about how to manage this tricky situation.

So, how do you do it?  What do you do when your number one internship has not contacted you yet, but number three just made an offer, and you have an interview scheduled with number two?  Yikes!

Should I Accept the First Offer?

First, I usually ask students to be honest with themselves regarding their comfort level in turning down an offer. Do you feel confident that your skills and your current status with other with internship sites will lead to another offer?  If not, then I recommend that you accept the first offer that comes your way.  No shame in using this strategy. It’s efficient and allows you to refocus your energy on preparing for your internship experience by learning as much as you can about the company.  Also, if you’ve done your homework, all of the internships that you apply to will provide great experiences!

Can I Buy Some Time Before Making a Decision?

Let’s say that you have an offer on the table with your number three choice and a pending interview with number one.  The best scenario here is if number three provides you with a date that they need an answer that nicely accommodates your number one interview.  If they do not provide a date (they expect an immediate answer) you can ask them when they need your answer.  This tactfully lets them know that you are still in the process of interviewing without actually saying it.  Usually they will accommodate by allowing you a week or so to answer.  Avoid asking for more than a week to decide.

Be aware that asking for time to decide can put off some organizations, especially if the interviewer is inexperienced or just very busy.  However, don’t let this dissuade you.  This is an appropriate way to handle the situation, and a great opportunity to learn negotiation skills that you will need as a professional.

Do I Tell My Top Choice That I Have a Pending Offer?

So, now you have your interview with number one and all goes well.  At the end you ask them what their selection timeline is and they tell you that they’ll be making decisions in a week or so, or some other equally vague response.  Do you tell them that you have a pending offer?  Again, if you are comfortable doing this, go for it!  You do not need to tell them who the offer is from, but in this case I would recommend that you let them know that they are your number one choice.

How Do I Decline an Offer?

If you have already accepted an internship but are contacted for an interview or are offered an internship as a result of an earlier interview, you can turn that into a future opportunity!

Politely thank them for considering you for an internship, and inform them that you have recently accepted an offer with another organization. (Again, you do not need to reveal the organization.)  Let them know that you are interested in learning more about future opportunities with their organization (this could be a second internship or an entry level position). Ask your contact if he/she would be willing to meet for an informational interview. If they were interested enough to make an offer, they may want to learn more about you, too.  This is also a great way to build your network and learn more about a career field that you are considering.

It is also a nice touch to let those you have interviewed with know that you have accepted an offer and would no longer like to be considered for their internship position.  Again, thank them and ask if you might be able to schedule an informational interview at a later date.

Practice Makes it  Easier

To help make these sticky situations less awkward – REHEARSE!  You should practice accepting an offer, turning down an offer and negotiating an offer (asking for more time to decide).  You can do this in the mirror, with a friend, or by using software that allows you to webcam yourself in typical interview scenarios.  Try Interview Stream (http://interviewstream.com/) for this service.

Keep in mind that accepting, declining and negotiating offers are all valuable parts of the internship process.  However, the most important factor in the success of your internship experience is YOU.  Make the most of your internship by bringing energy, curiosity and a positive attitude, and you will succeed!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...