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How to Sell Yourself for a High School Internship

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internship interview tips

You’re taking the right courses, studying for the SATs, getting involved in the right programs, so what else is there to do? Why not take the skills you've learned in school and apply it to a real-world setting?

High school internships – even unpaid ones – will give you the experience you need for college, the working world and beyond. They are a great way to build your high school resume.

Just how will you prove to employers that you're the perfect fit for for a a high school internship? Ask yourself these questions to get prepared:

1. Are your social media accounts as ready as you are?

The very first thing you need to do once you start internship hunting is to clean up those social media profiles. It’s one of the first things recruiters check, and you need to follow suit if you want to be hired.

Consider making everything private and be sure to delete any posts or pictures that look anything less than professional. In addition to cleaning house, you should go on the offensive to make yourself look attractive to recruiters when they’re perusing your social media profiles. Create a professional LinkedIn page – and use it to land the internship. Replace your funny profile picture with a headshot. Follow industry leaders and share important news. Use social media sites to build your personal brand – and it will be a tool that can help your search rather than hinder it.

2. Is your resume looking great and up-to-date?

You won't even be considered for an internship if you don't have a spotless resume on hand. Here are the hallmarks of a typical resume:

  • An objective: What are your short-term and long-term goals?

  • Your contact information.

  • Academic experience.

  • Extracurricular experience, such as clubs and school organizations.

  • Job/career experience. Yes, that summer job does count.

  • Relevant skills – these can be tailored to meet different internship requirements.

Try to make sure your resume fit on one page and that it's properly formatted. The hiring department flicks through them faster than you can say internship. Make yours worth their time.

Sometimes, businesses and organizations recommend that you include samples of your work. If you have art, writing, a portfolio, or any other samples on hand that could be relevant, make sure you send a copy with your resume or include links to your website.

3. Have you talked to your guidance or career counselor?

Talking with your counselor can be just a casual conversation. Make an appointment to talk about your interests, your favorite subjects and your plans for when you leave high school. Your counselor can help you find paid internships or even volunteer positions that might suit you. Even if you’re only volunteering once a month, having some charitable experience on your resume gives you a strong boost.

Counselors can also provide tips for writing your resume and nailing internship interviews. The Muse has a great list of questions to ask your counselor.

And if you land the actual internship interview? What will you say? Think about these questions:

What are your interests?

Employers will want to know more about you. Make it clear who you are and what about the company interests you.

If you have passions that are relevant to the job, talk about them. Employers don't want intern robots. Stay enthusiastic and eager.

How much experience do you have?

No matter what jobs you've had, you can relate them to the internship's requirements.

Did you have a job washing dishes one summer? That shows you know how to stay organized. Did you have a cashier position? Then you know how to deal with customers and money on the fly. Did you write for a blog? Chances are you have some great writing skills.

If you haven't had any notable jobs yet, that's OK. You can relate your experiences in school to the real world. Think of projects or assignments that required certain skills that might be relevant to the internship.

Any previous experience you feel is relevant will probably work. Just make sure you explain it clearly, accurately and briefly.

Can you say it like you mean it?

Believe it or not, a common mistake is not being convincing enough.

If you want the internship, you have to prove to the employer that you want it beyond “I want a job.” Express how passionate you are through your words and body language. Make sure to stand up straight, maintain eye contact, speak clearly, and be specific.

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