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May 6, 2010 found Adriano Medina when he posted a note about his love of internships on our Facebook page. See, Adriano is now doing his SIXTH internship. He loves the experience, and he loves talking about the value he finds in doing internships. So this blog, and two more to follow, come from the man who knows about internships.

Adriano is currently a student at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. He is a History major with a minor in Economics, and plans to graduate in May of 2011.

Q: You’ve been really successful landing internships. How did you get your resume to stand out during the application process? And how did you ensure a successful interview that resulted in an internship offer?

To start off, I highly recommend that a student try to complete an internship (even if it is unpaid) during the academic year as it is a lot easier to obtain and there is less competition. I would recommend that you do one or two internships before applying to your dream internship. Take me for example. When I first started internship-trekking in the summer before my sophomore year I needed to land an internship and I wasn’t going to be picky about it, nor was I going to settle for less and just choose anything. I applied to a lot of internships (all of which were unpaid and required credit) and landed one with the Donna Karan Company DKNY. I applied to this internship because the description of the internship seemed like a great hands on experience and I thought the fashion industry would be a great industry to explore.

Once I had that internship down, the following semester I was able to get an internship with Gunn Allen Financial. Gunn Allen was a little more closely related to what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t banking, it was brokerage. It was after I had these two internships on my resume I interviewed with Merrill Lynch and got the internship. The Merrill Lynch internship was THE ideal internship as it was with a bulge bracket investment bank. I would also like to point out that one of my goals that sophomore year was to do a federal government internship,which also happened the following year,my third year at LIU.

Adriano at his internship

Making your resume/application stand out is very important! Molto importante! I applied to the Merrill Lynch internship the summer of 2009. The internship was posted through my school’s online job bank; this internship was also posted throughout universities and colleges around New York City. There was indeed competition. The Director of Career Services knows me very well and what she did for me is call the recruiter of the position to give me a recommendation over the phone. The recruiter was impressed with my resume. I stood out, as the recruiter had to go through all of the submitted resumes and dig mine up. From doing that she saw my name and I was set apart from the many other applicants. I cannot say for certain that the Director of Career Services’ recommendation was a major contributing factor to my success in attaining the interview, but it certainly is a possibility.

For this position, there were over 100 resumes received. Only 10 of us were interviewed and only 2 of us got it. The other intern and I became good friends. And currently, the other intern is getting ready to start work as an investment banker this summer for a bulge-bracket bank here in New York City.

I highly recommend following up on your applications. When you apply, don’t just sit there. After some time has passed call the company and if you know who to speak to then do so, or ask for the Internship Coordinator. Ask for the status of your application and express interest. If you don’t know the number, Mapquest or Google map it and a number should appear. Call it.

To get the interview is a great thing. Getting the interview means that the employer believes you have what it takes and that you’re capable of doing the job. The interview is all about proving just that. Relax! Don’t be nervous. (I have to admit I was actually pretty nervous for my Merrill Lynch interview). Show that you have real interest in the internship and in the industry that you’re applying for. Know the company, a brief history on its origins, how it did for the last quarter, know the competitors, know the CEO and CFO and even know the stock price. And if possible try to pay attention if the company is on the news. Try to establish a connection with the interviewer and try to get them to remember something unique about you and only you. It can be funny, inspirational etc.

Most importantly, ask questions!!! Questions! Ask them!!! They are very important. Remember, the internship is all about learning more about the job, the company and the industry. I have met many employers who have told me that when a candidate does not ask any questions, that he/she has completely wasted their time. You do not want to be one of these candidates.

Also, try to establish a connection with the interviewer, so it just doesn’t remain an interview (this may work some places and not in others… and if it does, remember to keep it professional). For example, at one of my interviews the employer and I talked, talked, talked and established a good connection. I kid you not, what was supposed to be a 30 minute interview, ended up becoming a 2 hour conversation. After that I kind of already knew I had gotten that internship. It was only confirmed two days later when HR gave me a call telling me the internship was mine.

Missed part 1 of Adriano’s interview?  Read it here.

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