In recent years the business world has seen a rise in the phenomena of the adult internship. This is probably not surprising with the economy crashing, adding to the amount of people who have already discarded the idea that a job is for life.
Internships are becoming an increasingly popular option as a way to break into a new career, as it offers actual work experience, a way to get yourself noticed, and even more importantly, a way to make sure that the new industry is going to suit you.
Yet for many the idea of going back to being an intern is enough to make the stomach squirm. I mean, how does your ego survive being the oldest intern on the block? But before we get to that, how do you even secure the job when your competition is super knowledgeable, keen bean interns who don’t even look old enough to vote?
Well if you have these questions, this two-part post is for you.
Part one – How to get through the interview.
Applying and being interviewed for a job that sometimes doesn’t pay is likely to be a weird experience. You are going to have to bury the urge to slam down your folder and scream “I used to be a flipping manager” and instead present as being perfectly at ease with the idea of being the low person on the totem pole.
Below are some standard interview questions for interns and techniques you can use to show how at ease and capable you are.
1. Why do you want this job?
They always ask this question, but with you, it will be with real interest, after all, you won’t be the average intern. Manage this by focusing on the positives and use your age to your advantage. It will be the elephant in the room so tackle this by talking about it confidently. For example, explain you are now in a position in life to do something new, and because you are older, you know yourself — including what you want — and this internship is it. They may also ask if you think you are overqualified or if you are prepared to be at the bottom of the pile. Again, be confident that you are happy to start at the bottom (even if you’re not) because you Without sounding too cheesy, your age does gives you wisdom and confidence.
2. What can you bring to this role?
When they ask this remember, although you will be up against new graduates who have knowledge that perhaps you won’t, what you do have is real working experience. Use this to your advantage. Although an internship is in part for you to learn, the reality is that most companies are looking to fill these roles to accomplish specific tasks, and possibly grooming the full-time employee of tomorrow. Prove you will be a greater asset to the team and easier to manage than the other candidates. If the employer feels you can be relied upon to get yourself to work on time, be professional, and that are safe to be left alone with a telephone, you will be worth your weight in gold. I always remember my friend excitingly taking on a very gifted intern, to then spend hours teaching her how to work a fax machine whilst listening to her moan that it was beneath her. This is not what the employer needs from an intern, no matter how potentially gifted they are.
3. Remember transferable skills.
Adopt “transferable” skills as the buzzword du jour. Really think about what you did in your previous job (I.e. – problem solving, creating new ideas, etc.) and think about how these skills can be applied to the internship. The processes are the same, it’s just the context that is different. Specifically include how you have developed and that you can learn new skills quickly.
4. Treat it as you would any interview.
Lastly do what you would do for any interview, research the company, explain why you think you would fit and it would fit you, and be confident in your capabilities.
Check back tomorrow for part two where e will share a 4-point survival guide for adult interns.