Ask the Intern Queen: Pros/Cons of Skype interviews
Each week the Intern Queen, Lauren Berger, answers questions from college students about landing an internship. Do you have a question? Shoot her an e-mail at email@example.com and check back to see if she picked yours.
When interviewing for jobs in other cities than my own, it' really common for employers to conduct phone interviews. Unfortunately, it seems as though a candidate who interviews in person versus one over the phone always has the upper hand. Do you think Skype interviews can help level the playing field? Should I as the candidate suggest doing a Skype interview to the employer if they request a phone interview? Thanks for all your help.
Anonymous Student, Northern Arizona University
Hello Anonymous Student!
Great question. Skype interviews have really made their mark with both employers and career centers this year. That being said, not everyone is doing them and not everyone understands them.
If an employer suggests a phone interview, you could say something like, "I'm available for a phone or Skype interview -- whichever is more convenient for you." Otherwise, I wouldn't insist on anything. Most employers who use Skype for interviews will suggest Skype. If they don't suggest it, odds are they aren't using it yet.
Also, if you do the phone interview, the best advice is to speak clearly and confidently. Make them KNOW that they can put you on the phone with any client and you will represent them well.
I am applying for internships predominantly in California. I currently live in Charlotte, N. C. I am willing to relocate for the summer and am very adamant upon finding an internship for the summer. Will this be a problem considered by employers? Will my chances of getting the internship be less likely?
Brittanie - Student at York Technical College
Employers in Los Angeles and New York are used to students from out of state applying for summer internships. It's fine that you have your school or home address on your resume but make it clear in your cover letter that you PLAN to be out in Los Angeles this summer and list the specific dates that you would be available to intern.
If you send the employer a short note and attach your resume and cover letter, include the fact that you will be in LA that summer in the e-mail. You want them to know that you are reliable and will do whatever it takes to nail down that internship for Summer 2010.
My brother told me about you and said you might be able to give a few tips on getting an internship at a talent agency this summer. I also go to UCLA, and my dream is to be a literary agent, but I don't yet have too much industry experience. Do you have any ideas/tips on how I might be able to get my foot in the door?
Thanks so much,
Chris, Student at UCLA
Thanks for your note. The key with any entertainment company is to start with a small or local company and build your way up. You are very lucky to be already in Los Angeles - other students would kill to be in your position. Start with a small literary agency - Arlook Group is a great boutique literary agency to check out on my site. The Hollywood Creative Directory is a great tool as well. Some of these smaller companies will provide a more valuable experience than the big sharks.
Remember, it's all about the baby steps! Good luck!
About Lauren Berger
Lauren earned the title "Intern Queen" by completing 15 internships during her four years of college at the University of Central Florida. After graduating in 2006, she decided to turn her experience interning into a career and launched Intern Queen Inc. Lauren travels the country to talk to students, runs an internship listing site, blogs and was just named one of BusinessWeek's Top 25 Entrepreneurs 25 and Under in 2009. Lauren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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