Is It Summer Yet?

With the arrival of Spring and warmer temperatures this week, many students’ thoughts are starting to turn toward the summer. A number have been asking, “What should I be thinking about for my summer job?” Some of you may have secured your dream internship, others are pursuing roles outside of their full-time target industries, and some are still looking for the right fit.

Wherever you are in the process, here are a few thoughts for getting the most out of your summer experience:

  • Ask questions. Lots of questions. Don’t be afraid of looking like you don’t know all the answers – chances are, you don’t.  Regardless of the program, company, or role you take on, it’s highly unlikely that you know everything about it. Asking questions can serve two main purposes – it will 1) show your manager, team, or colleagues that you’re engaged, interested, and thinking about the work, and 2) in turn, give you the opportunity to learn as much as you can about the industry, organization, clients, etc.
  • Put your best effort into everything, even the small tasks. Chances are, you won’t be speaking directly with clients and closing multi-million deals as an intern. There are, however, things that you can do to make your team’s life easier and help build their trust in you. If your colleagues can’t trust you to get something that might seem trivial and irrelevant – for example, data entry, formatting, or a lunch order – correct, it will be difficult for them to trust you with higher-stakes tasks.
  • Remember that this is an opportunity to build valuable skills, knowledge, and relationships for the future. What if your summer internship isn’t all you thought it would be? Or if you are doing something completely unrelated to your target industry? You can use it to gain skills and knowledge that are transferable later on. Whatever job offer you end up taking, remember that someone is giving you an opportunity. Keep a positive attitude, do your job well, and make an effort meet people throughout the organization. You never know where this summer may lead, but it certainly will be one of the first steps on your longer-term career path.

If you have any questions at all, you can always stop by our office to speak with an advisor. Have a great weekend!

“Do you have any questions for me?” – Why this is not a throwaway question during interviews

by Melissa Chu, Wharton Graduate Assistant

More often than not, we walk into interviews with our answers to behavioural questions prepared, our answers to technical questions perfected, and we have done so many cases that we can answer then in our sleep. We breeze through all of the questions, building rapport with the interviewer and showing off our knowledge of the company. Then we get to the final question, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Sometimes, it is very tempting to say, “No, I think I’ve got all of the information that I need,” but more often than not, we fumble through and ask a question that we don’t have an interest in. What most people forget, however, is that this is still part of the interview – and the interviewer will form his/her last impression of you based on this interaction.

  1. The interviewer is still assessing you until you walk out of the room. Asking thoughtful questions shows that you took a genuine interest in the role and the company – and that you prepared for the question, which is 99.9% likely to come up.
  2. This is an opportunity to figure out whether the team or role is right for you. Do you have a truly burning question on life at the company? For example, do want to know if there are formal support networks in place for career progression? This is the time to show an interviewer that you have thoroughly thought about the role and your fit at the company.
  3. There is almost no way that you could possibly know everything about the role and the company. No matter how many informational interviews you go through, or how much time you spend reading a company’s website, there will still be questions that haven’t been answered. For example, does the team have any team-building activities?

As you head off on Thanksgiving break and reflect on (or start thinking about) your recruiting process, this is also a good time to think about the non-advertised aspects of the job that are important to you. This will help you form a list of genuine questions that you can ask at each interview to assess whether the role is right for you—remember, this is a two-way street, so you should also seize on this opportunity to get your questions out as well.