July 6, 2016

Internship Interview Prep

Here's a little timeline of what you should do one month, one week, and one day before your internship interview. Plus, how to follow-up afterwards! | brazenandbrunette.com

Turns out, I have a lot to say about internships! These are my first jobs in the legal field and also my first internships, so I'm learning a lot. I tend to overthink everything, so of course when it came time for me to job hunt I had to plan everything out a month in advance. I'm still not experienced enough to not get nervous before an interview, but I do think that I've improved a lot since I first began! 


One Month Before

Clean your social media — You have to market yourself when you're trying to find a job, so make sure that you're appealing to the widest audience possible. Cuss words, references to drinking (even if you're of age), strong political/social stance rants, and negativity should be kept to a minimum.

Update LinkedIn — This will help you with networking and gives you a professional profile for future employers to look at. Now that you're an adult, your picture should be professional looking and no longer that cute pic from you on your birthday. Make sure to add any groups you're a part of so that they know what you're interested in. Most importantly, make sure that your work and education background is current and highlights your skills.

Update Résumé — If you're in law school, you need to add that to your résumé! And just like how you don't put high school information on a college résumé, you don't need any college extracurricular info on this one. TBH, it can be hard trying to beef this up with law school activities because there's not a whole lot you do as a 1L except for just trying to survive, so go to your career services to see how to spin what little you've done to sound impressive.

One Week Before

Get an interview outfit — As a general rule, your interview outfit should be business professional and then you can tone it down to match the office after you get the job. One mistake I made is that I've lost some weight since the last time I wore my suit from moot court, so on the morning of my interview I realized that my pants were embarrassingly baggy but I didn't have time to go buy new pants! 

Related: How to Build a Lawyer Wardrobe

Whiten your teeth — This is something that my mom always told me to do because having a pretty smile can really boost your confidence. I personally use Crest whitestrips at the referral from my dentist, and love how they can quickly whiten them a shade.

Touch up your hair — Unless you have really pretty ombré, you're going to want to fix your roots if you have highlighted/dyed hair. It just makes you look more professional and like you have your life together when your hair is kept up with.

One Day Before

Get a manicure — Speaking of touchups, getting your nails done is another good investment. Chipped nail polish doesn't exactly scream "I'm responsible so you should hire me." If going to a salon isn't in your budget, still make sure that your nails are trimmed and either buffed clean or get a friend to paint an even coat for you.

Prepare a padfolio — Sometimes the person who interviews you isn't always the same person who first reviewed your information. You'll seem like you have your shit together if you come in prepared with a padfolio containing a copy of your résumé and cover letter. If the job you're interviewing for last through a semester, having a copy of your class schedule will also be handy to have ready.

Research your employer — When I interviewed for my Texas Rep, the interviewer straight up asked what I knew about him. Knowing what your future boss or their company does, knowing who they represent, and knowing their biggest accomplishments are some great basic things to find out. The two places to look are the company website and LinkedIn to make sure you won't be stumped if you get asked this.

Fix your suit – Make sure your suit is wrinkle free! I personally prefer a mini steamer to an iron because it's SoOoO much faster to use and way easier. Also make sure to swipe it down with a lint roller. Even if you don't have pets, it's still a good idea to make sure you get rid of any little fuzzies.

The Day Of

Give yourself time — I usually add about 30-45 minutes to my time to get ready because when I get nervous I tend to re-do my hair and makeup like twice. It also is a good idea to invest in mini steamer to make sure that your clothes are wrinkle free because they are way faster and easier than ironing. Also, run a lint roller over your suit! Even if you don't have pets, there can still be little fuzzies that get on it.

Check traffic — One of the worst things you can do is leave your house thinking that you have plenty of time to get there, and then construction or a wreck makes you show up late. I always add my interview into my phone's calendar for when I want to arrive, set the location to where the interview is, and have an alert for when I need to leave. My phone checks traffic reports and will let me know if traffic is heavy and I should leave early.

Avoid caffeine — I know for a lot of people this is a major part of your routine and you can feel like your day is off without it, but here me out! Interviews tend to make people nervous, nerves tend to make people jittery, jitters tend to make you seem unprepared and unprofessional. Trust that your adrenaline will wake you up.

Afterwards

Send a thank you — Whether it's a thank you email or a handwritten letter will have to be a judgement call, but just make sure you send one! If an employer is old school then they're going to be expecting one and will assume that you're rude if you can't take the time to send them a quick "thanks for interviewing me." It could also make you stand out as a candidate if you're the only one who was thoughtful enough to send one.

Related: How to write the perfect thank you note


Follow up — If they are still interviewing candidates after you, it might be a while before you hear back from them. Another general rule is to wait two weeks and then do a follow up email or call where you gently remind them that you interviewed on whatever day and ask if the position has been filled. Unfortunately, a lot of places have a terrible habit of hiring someone else but never letting you know that you should move on, so it's up to you to find out if it's still available or not. 

Stay positive — Even after your interview you should seem optimistic on social media and when talking to people about possibly getting the job. Word of mouth can spread quickly and you don't want to screw yourself out of a job because someone who knows someone let your interviewer know that you didn't have a good time.
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