When you’re looking for an internship, you’re bound to go on plenty of interviews. Thrilling thought, right? Interviews can be hard but are so much easier if you are prepared. Have you ever wondered what the interviewers are looking for in a candidate? And what can you do to get a great internship?
Chris Jeub, the President of Training Minds Ministries, has a lot of experience interviewing internship candidates — particularly teenagers. Mr. Jeub is a former teacher and journalist, who now publishes curricula and runs camps for academic speech and debate, a competitive environment where a young person prepares and delivers speeches and debates for judges at tournaments. Training Minds provides “training grounds” for youth to effectively train their minds for action, particularly in the areas of debate, speech, logic and reasoning, to grow into confident individuals who see value in engaging the culture for common good.
As President of Training Minds, Mr. Jeub has dealt with a lot of interns, and he has interviewed plenty more. One of the first things he says he looks for is a record of excellence and achievements. He says that what he’s looking for isn’t just someone who is, say, on the track team, but someone who takes on a leadership position (like coaching or managing the team). Mr. Jeub also notes that applicants who simply apply for a position aren’t usually the most successful. Instead, he prefers someone who brings new, fresh ideas to the table.
Of course, there are always pitfalls in the interview process. One way teens go astray is by assuming that the hiring manager knows everything. As Mr. Jeub points out, teens and young adults are perfect for internships because they bring new ideas — but also because they can be adaptable. The most successful interns find a way to contribute to the company to help make it better.
The most important part of an internship, naturally, is that it should be somewhere in (or at least close to) a field you want to go into. Obviously, a writer probably wouldn’t apply for an internship at a welding company, and an engineer likely isn’t looking for a job at a newspaper. That’s why it’s essential to learn what your passions are, identify them, and channel them towards what you want to do. If you like taking photos, for instance, you might enjoy an internship at a magazine.
A friend of mine got an amazing internship at a marketing firm and quickly discovered something. She didn’t like it and decided she didn’t want to work in marketing. Some people would see this as a waste of time but my friend thought it was incredibly valuable. She was planning to major in marketing and was able to switch her area of study before it was too late!
Mr. Jeub advocates for teens just going for it and not holding back if it feels like a job or an internship you want. This might mean learning a career isn’t for you or that you have different strengths and weaknesses than you’ve ever known before. But if there was ever a time to do that kind of self-discovery, Mr. Jeub says, it’s in your teen years.