How to Stand Out as an Intern, with Kirk Baumann

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Transcript

Find Your Dream Job, Episode 149:

How to Stand Out as an Intern, with Kirk Baumann

Airdate: July 25, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host, and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts, Leila O’Hara and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

This week we’re talking about how to stand out as an intern.

Internships are an important first step in a career. An internship can help you get valuable skills, decide if you want to stay in a field, and make important professional contacts.

This week’s guest expert is Kirk Baumann. He’s the founder of the Campus to Career website. Kirk says if you want to make the most of an internship you need to do more than what you’re told. He and I talk later in the show.

Women earn significantly less than men for the same job. Leila has a found an article with research that explains why this happens. It offers recommendations for ways employers can close the pay gap. She tells us more in a moment.

The best job interviews become conversations. Yes, you need to come ready to answer an interviewer’s questions. But you also should bring your own questions. How many questions should you ask an employer? That’s our question of the week. It comes from listener Colleen Smyth in Gresham, Oregon. Jessica shares her advice shortly.

As always, let’s start by checking in with the Mac’s List team.

Leila  is first up, as always, you’ve spent this last week poking around the Internet looking for websites, books, and other tools people can use. What have you uncovered this week, Leila?

Leila O’Hara:

Yes, well I found a very interesting article this week from Fivethirtyeight. It takes a deep dive into the issue of equal pay. The article is called,  “The Pay Gap Is Way Too Entrenched To Be Solved By Women Alone”.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I agree.

Leila O’Hara:

Equal Pay Day — which falls next year on April 2, 2019 — this marks the day that estimates how far into the year women have to work to earn a salary equal to what men earned the previous year. The pay gap has been shrinking a lot over the past three decades but the stats are still really stark.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, especially if you’re a person of color or there’s other details involved in that.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, it’s just a really interesting and complicated issue.

Mac Prichard:

Progress has been slow because I first remember learning about this when I was twenty-one and just out of college…this was way back in 1980…because a coworker had a button that said “Sixty-nine cents”, and I asked, “What’s that about?” She said, “For every dollar a man makes, a woman makes sixty-nine cents.” The figure hasn’t gone up that much, has it?

Leila O’Hara:

No. It’s still complicated.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I think it’s eighty-two or something? Only for white women and it’s still not very much better.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I finished college thirty-eight years ago. So that’s a long time.

Jessica Black:

Right, that’s a long time.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, there’s a lot of different factors that go into it, and yes, the statistic that I found was that in 2017, women earned just 82% of what men earn.

This article does a deep dive into it. It has a lot of interesting data points and insights. I wanted to share a few of them that explain why women earn less than men.

In research conducted by Francine Blau, who is a Cornell professor, found that 62% of the pay gap can be attributed to “measured factors.” Those are stats like your occupation, your industry, or your experience level. The other 38% of the equation is a lot harder to measure. Blau notes that this percentage may come down to factors you can’t measure, like discrimination which you can’t really put a statistic behind or track because people don’t really report that kind of thing.

Jessica Black:

Yep, and it’s biased and different for every person and how it comes out. It’s hard to track.

Leila O’Hara:

Exactly. That’s what makes it so complicated.

I also found it really interesting that women are more likely than men to work in the types of occupations that pay the least.

Jessica Black:

Helping-type jobs that get paid the least.

Leila O’Hara:

Exactly. This is everything from working as a maid, maybe a restaurant hostess, a food prep worker, or working as a cashier; those are all very low paying positions.

Jessica Black:

Even caregiver positions.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah.

Jessica Black:

Or young-child development. Teachers oftentimes and especially daycare workers. Anything that’s from the home, like caring for children or the elderly or whatever, aren’t paid very well either.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, that’s very true.

Jessica Black:

You would think that that’s the most important area that should be getting paid the most but it’s often seen as a soft position that doesn’t need to be paid that much.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I definitely agree with you. One key finding from the article is that I wanted to share here is:

“What connects these disparate solutions for the remaining pay gap is that they all require private companies to change their cultures and management systems, either voluntarily or through legislation. That shifts the emphasis and responsibility for fixing the pay gap from individual women to their employers.”

Jessica Black:

Yeah, it has to be a societal shift and not just individuals. Like Mac was saying, people have been fighting for this for way longer than you’ve even been alive, Mac.

Mac Prichard:

And everybody knows I’m ancient. The only boomer in the room.

Leila O’Hara:

A long time.

Mac Prichard:

That’s okay.

Jessica Black:

No, I just mean the early nineteen hundreds, with the women’s suffrage movement and things like that, it’s been happening for over a hundred years and probably longer than that. We’re still having to fight, and fight, and fight all the time. I think it can’t just be people demanding a change; it has to be a societal shift that everybody is engaged with at the same time.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I definitely think that that is a really important note and I think that everyone listening should read this article or just seek out other information on the Equal Pay Day and the gender pay gap. It’s not just an issue for women because if you’re looking for a job you really need to know what a fair salary for your industry and your occupation is and make sure you’re on the same page as your future employer. Because while employers do have to change their policies to make equal pay a reality, it’s also up to us job seekers to be educated about what’s a fair salary range for our skills.

Jessica Black:

Yeah. I know we’ve talked about this on the podcast before, I think a couple of episodes ago with Lauren McGoodwin, talking about pay transparency as a whole. It should be more normalized to talk about those kinds of things and make it known so that there is less discrepancy between people’s pay but also especially for women to talk with other women about what they’re getting paid.

Lauren McGoodwin made a great point about talking to men as well who are doing the same type of work and being able to find out the pay discrepancies that way. Because, oftentimes, there’s not enough knowledge about who’s getting paid what because there is such a stigma about talking about those kinds of things. But if there were more conversations around it, I think that that is a good step in the right direction.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I definitely agree, you should talk to everyone you can about what’s a fair salary.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I do think it’s important for people to be good at salary negotiation, and be comfortable talking about money, but you’re right, Jessica. There is a stigma, among people, families, and  coworkers being uncomfortable discussing finances. But the more comfortable you are, and the better you are at negotiation, the better you’re going to do in the long run.

I really like your point, that you pulled out, Leila, about how there’s no mystery here. There are business practises that companies are following that can be changed. There’s no mysterious black box. There are rules and procedures that contribute to this pay gap. If companies are serious about changing that, they may not be able to close the gap one hundred percent but they can make significant progress in doing so.

Jessica Black:

That’s a great point.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, that’s a good point.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, well thank you both. Thank you, Leila for that excellent resource. If you’ve got a resource you’d like to see Leila share on the show, email her. Her address is leila@macslist.org.

Now, let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jessica Black is digging deep down into the Mac’s List mailbag which gets bigger every week. You’ve been hearing from a lot of people now, haven’t you?

Jessica Black:

It does, I have been hearing from a lot of people. It’s been great, keep sending them.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Well what question did you pluck from the bag this week, Jessica?

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I have a question from Colleen Smyth, from Gresham, Oregon, which is just east of Portland here. She says,

“I know it’s important to ask the hiring manager good questions in an interview. How many questions do you think is appropriate? In my last interview, I felt like I was asking too many questions and the interviewer was getting annoyed.”

This is a good question. I think we get this question a lot about how many questions to be prepared for, and how to go about this in general, because I think we’re still disseminating a lot of that, and there’s still a lot of questions from job seekers around what types of things to do in an interview.

I think it’s great that Colleen is preparing questions. We’ve talked about that a lot of times as well, that it is really important to come prepared with questions that show that you’ve done your research, you’re curious about the position, you’re engaged, and want to learn more. I think that’s a really good way to approach it and I think there is a good rule of thumb of how many questions are too many.

I think that going into it with three to five questions sounds about right. It does depend on exactly how many questions to bring in, but having three to five really good questions is really important.

“Really good” here means well-researched and tailored specifically for that position and that organization. Hiring managers can often tell if you are just asking a question because you feel that you should, or that you have chosen a question that’s very generic, that’s an “easy” question to ask just to feel like you’re participating.

You really don’t want to waste anyone’s time, your time or the hiring manager’s time. Ask questions that are going to move you forward in that process and allow you to get some good information from that question about the organization and about the position.

I would also say, if you feel like you do have “too many” questions, and I would say again, maybe more than five, ask the most pressing ones in the first interview. Ask the ones that you really feel like are really relevant to getting that information about the company culture, about the position, about the organization, and that are really going to help you learn more, if you are going to be continually pursuing this position and opportunity. You’ll have more opportunities to ask more questions later in the process.

Don’t feel like you have to ask every single question that you have all in the first interview. You can spread them out throughout the hiring process because within the whole process you’ll have two, three, to four interviews depending on that company. You also don’t want to ask all of the questions in the first interview and then not have any questions further on down the line when it’s arguably more important to have deeper questions. Stagger those questions throughout, but craft those questions that are going to be really relevant to that position and to that organization, that will show that you have researched and will show that you are interested in the position, and that you are a great fit.

What do you guys think about that?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I completely agree with you and I think that this listener, coming into the interview with questions, regardless of what those questions are, that’s automatically going to show that she’s prepared, she’s engaged, and she’s passionate about the position. I would say it’s always better to come in with a good bucket of questions even if you don’t use all of them. I think that’s a better approach than coming in with no questions.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a killer, yeah.

Leila O’Hara:

Having the interviewer look at you and go, “Oh, I guess they’re not really engaged here.”

Jessica Black:

Absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

Just two quick points – I love your emphasis on a strategy for the questions. I think that’s really smart because you want to, I think, accomplish two things when you ask questions. First is to draw the employer out about their needs so you can show and talk about how you can address them. Second is to find out if this is a good fit for you or not.

The other thing I would add, Colleen didn’t mention this, but be conscious of the time limit. It may be that the interviewer is seeing five people in a row and there’s thirty minutes. Maybe the interviewer has talked too long and it’s only left three minutes out of a thirty-minute block; you’re the candidate and you’ve got five or ten minutes of conversation you’d like to have. That’s not a good thing for you as the candidate but probably there’s a risk the interviewer is looking at the clock and thinking, “I’ve got somebody else I’ve got to get through.” You have to work within the time that has been allotted for the interview.

Jessica Black:

I’m really glad that you said that, Mac, because I didn’t even think about that point but that’s a huge component of it. That may have contributed to Colleen’s feeling that the interviewer was annoyed with her. It wasn’t that that person was annoyed with her or her questions but was feeling stressed by time or something like that. I think that’s actually a really good point. I think you can preface that as the candidate by saying, “I want to be mindful of your time but I do have a couple of questions that I want to ask. Is this the right time to ask them? Do you have time for me to ask one to two questions?”

Mac Prichard:

I love that. Yeah, if you’ve been told you have thirty minutes for an interview and it’s twenty-five minutes past the hour, you can say, “Well, I’m aware we only have thirty minutes scheduled, do you have time or do you have somebody waiting for you?”

Good, well thank you, Jessica. Thank you, Colleen, for that question. We love questions, we’re a curious bunch here.

Jessica Black:

We are.

Mac Prichard:

None of us would ever walk into an interview, probably without at least five questions written down, would we?

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Leila O’Hara:

No.

Jessica Black:

I always have a lot but I don’t always ask all of them.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, you both are lifelong learners. It sounds like Colleen is, too. Thanks again. If you’ve got a question of your own for Jessica, she would love to hear from you. Her email is: jessica@macslist.org. You can also call our listener line, we haven’t had a call in a while, we’d love one. It’s area-code 716-JOB-TALK, or post your question on the Mac’s List Facebook group!

However you do it, if we use your question on the show, you’ll get you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

We’ll be back in just a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert, Kirk Baumann, about how you can stand out as an intern.

Have you ever been asked a question like this in a job interview, “Tell me about a time when you didn’t agree with your boss”?

That’s a tough one, isn’t it? What would you say?

This is what hiring managers call a behavioral interview question. It’s a common tactic. Employers use this kind of question to explore your fit for a job based on your past experience. It can also be an easy question to answer if you have the right strategy.

I share my own tips for how to answer these, “gotcha” questions in my new guide, 100 Behavioral Interview Questions. It’s a  free resource and it teaches you a simple four-step process for expertly answering the most common behavioral questions.

To get your copy today, visit macslist.org/questions.

Now, let’s continue with the show.

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Kirk Baumann.

Kirk Baumann is a recognized career and leadership expert who has helped thousands of young professionals. He is also the founder and author of the award-winning website, Campus to Career.

Kirk was named one of the 100 Most Social HR Experts on Twitter by The Huffington Post. His advice has been featured in Business News Daily, Mashable, and US News & World Report.

He joins us today from Nixa, Missouri.

Kirk, how are you?

Kirk Baumann:

Hi, I’m well.


Mac Prichard:

Good, well thanks for joining us for the show. Our topic this week is how to stand out as an intern. Let’s start, Kirk, by talking about the importance of an internship in a career. How can these positions help someone as they enter the workplace?

Kirk Baumann:

Great question. As an intern, you have a unique opportunity to to really get a great view of the entire organization. Many organizations take great pride in providing mentor programs and access to executives that, as a typical entry level employee, you wouldn’t necessarily have access to.

As an intern, this is your chance and their chance to go through the whole interview process with you. I like to refer to it as a four-hundred-hour interview. Which does sound daunting but really, you are there for ten to twelve weeks, in a typical internship, and that’s broken down, eight hours a day, five days a week, four hundred hours. That entire time, they’re testing you out and you are getting a great look inside the company, inside the operations to the things you may be interested in pursuing later down the road.

Mac Prichard:

When someone signs up for an internship, let’s talk about the goals they should have. Do you take an assignment thinking, “Okay, this might lead to a job with this company, or is this an opportunity for me to test drive a career to figure out if I want to be in this field?” Or perhaps there’s some other goals you recommend.

Kirk Baumann:

I believe that it’s both. Definitely an opportunity to test drive the company and even the specific jobs. Maybe the company is wonderful but the job is something that you’re just not sure of at the moment. It gives you a chance to test the waters without making a full-time commitment.

Really, it also gives you a chance to gain some additional experience. Let’s say you’re a junior and you’re coming back for your senior year, you have a chance to do another internship, maybe in a different area, at a different company, or a different area within that same company. It just gives you a chance to get a better look at what it’s really like in that role. Spend a day in the life, a day in their shoes, of what that particular area might entail.

Mac Prichard:

Now, you’ve been writing about internships and campus to career transitions for more than a decade. One of the trends that I think you’re seeing is that more and more of the internships are paid, aren’t they?

Kirk Baumann:

They are. There are certainly still some out there that are unpaid and I think there’s value in both. Obviously, some unpaid internships, you receive course credit for, you get credits for those as you’re studying college. For me, it’s a personal choice on whether it’s paid or unpaid. I took several unpaid internships while I was in college. I just took it as an opportunity to learn, and again, test the waters and figure out, “Is this something I want to do full-time for the next twenty to thirty years?” I found out quickly what I wanted to do, and things that I thought I was interested in, that I really didn’t want to do. It’s definitely a chance to test the waters. It’s something to jump into and figure out where you want to go in life.

It’s about the people too; connecting with mentors and finding colleagues that will remain connections and lifelong friends for the rest of your career.

Mac Prichard:

Kirk, another trend I know that is more and more common, more college graduates are considering taking paid internships for their first year after graduation, aren’t  they?

Kirk Baumann:

They are. I’ve seen internships that are extended beyond your traditional time frame of junior or senior time frame. Again, it gives you the chance to really continue that conversation, it may be the third time this particular individual is in the company. It gives access to maybe a different set of managers, or a different area of focus. It just adds a more robust experience and a well-rounded individual at the end of that internship.

Which, that is the goal of an internship, is to gain experience. Everybody wants to hire someone with experience but as a college graduate you don’t have much. That’s what internships are built for, to provide that look inside, that opportunity to contribute to a real world issue or challenge that the company is trying to solve. Through that, to gain experience so that whenever they graduate they do have something that they can put on a resume and they can speak to intelligently in an interview, things like that.

Mac Prichard:

Those are some of the goals that students should consider when planning applications for internships, and the benefits when they have those experiences, but let’s talk about the application process, Kirk? I know you’ve written about this and in your work you’ve seen students make a lot of common errors when applying for internships. Can you tell us about those basic mistakes people should avoid?

Kirk Baumann:

Sure, basic mistakes don’t seem all that basic to some folks so simple things like typos. Those types of things are picked up. You are typically going to have your resume or your application reviewed by first a robot. It’s not looking for spelling errors, it’s looking for basic qualifications. Do you meet the minimum qualifications for this position? That’s something that is typically lacking. It depends on the individual and their experience but for the most part we see a lot of repetitive things like your job responsibilities. It’s great that you’re responsible for things at your job but what did you actually accomplish? What did you achieve? Did you increase sales by ten percent or a hundred and ten percent? Those types of numbers and percentages, those are the meat and potatoes of the resume and the application.

I would say some things to also be mindful of, again, a simple thing like your email address. Students who are using your .edu email address, that may or may not continue after you graduate. For most colleges, or at least it used to be this way, about six months after you graduated, your email died. You no longer had access to your, you know, kirk@something.edu. I would really encourage students or anyone to go to gmail, get a gmail address. Do your firstname-lastname, or your first name-middle initial, something that is easy to remember. No cutesy emails, like hotlipsforyou25@gmail.com. We’ve seen some really interesting, cute emails here, so keep it simple. That’s also a great way to be remembered was your email address was easy to remember. You don’t have to think, “Was there a number in there?” Those types of things.

Again, focus on the experience and the accomplishments gained. Some of those things don’t actually happen through a traditional job. It may be experience and things that you’ve achieved as maybe the president of an honor society, or your fraternity or sorority on campus, or your academic club that you’re a part of.

Those types of things, don’t forget those because that does equate to experience and also things like athletics. As an athlete, I see athletes leave this off their resume a lot because they’re thinking, “Well they’re a business, they want the business stuff.” We want to know, are you an athlete and if so what was your role on the team? Because anyone who’s played any type of sports knows that there’s an incredible amount of dedication and commitment that’s required of an athlete. They can play as a team but also as an individual leading that team and it takes a little extra. They’re doing all of this plus going to school, plus maybe doing a full-time or part-time job. It shows that they have flexibility, time management skills, prioritization skills, those types of things, that again, factor into that internship or that full-time job.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, good. Excellent advice. Now let’s talk about what happens after someone accepts an internships and the things an intern can do to stand out during that assignment. I know one of the challenges that you’ve written about on your website is that some interns think that employers believe you need to know everything about a job, but that’s not true, is it, Kirk?

Kirk Baumann:

Yep. As an intern, or even as a brand new hire for the company, never assume that you’re supposed to know everything on the first day of work. I personally made this mistake and have done it a couple of times throughout my career. Again, I got hired into the position, felt that I was hired for a reason, that I was able, and confident, and competent to do the job. So, I didn’t ask a  lot of questions and made some decisions that could have been huge mistakes that would have cost the company time, and money, and resources, and in the end could have cost me my job. I would say be curious, ask questions, reach out to others, if you don’t really understand what it is you’ve been asked to do or what that project looks like, ask for clarification. There are no silly or stupid questions. The ones that are silly are the ones that are never asked. Just ask for clarification and be curious. That curiosity, that extends to beyond your current job.

Think about your interns that are working with you on your current team as well as other interns, other employees of the company, reach out, ask them what they do and how it all connects to what the overall company’s goals are. Ask them what drives them as people, what are they passionate about? Taking a true interest in people will get you a long way in this world and truly listening can make you a really valuable team player. Again, never assume, always ask questions if you need clarification, please ask for it. You have a lot of flexibility and leeway when it comes, especially as a brand new person, to the team, intern or otherwise, so take advantage of that and ask, ask, ask.

Mac Prichard:

One of the other benefits of doing that, Kirk, is it gets you out of your cubicle, doesn’t it? It allows you to make connections and build relationships across the company, doesn’t it?

Kirk Baumann:

It does, it does, and in this day and age, it’s not necessarily what you know, or who you know, it’s who knows you. You’d be surprised as it gets down to the final interviews or the final process and somebody that’s part of that process says, “Oh yeah, I met him, (or her), they made this impression on me. I think we should hire them”, or, “I think we shouldn’t.” It’s a good way to get out and meet others, really see how the whole team works together, and understand the full scope of what you’re doing together.

Mac Prichard:

Two other points I want to touch on. One is, I read your column about the importance of seeking out mentors, especially when you’re an intern inside a company. Why is that important?

Kirk Baumann:

Mentors can guide you. They can act as your sherpa. What’s the role of a sherpa when you’re a mountain climber? The role of the sherpa is to guide you past the perils of the mountain so you’re not up on Everest when it’s going to have a snow storm coming through. Without mentorship, without guidance, you can die. Whether that’s your career dying or you yourself in that analogy, mentors can really help you jump over those stumbling blocks that maybe you would encounter otherwise.

They can provide you with some knowledge and guidance that they have gotten over the years. Things that they picked up, that they’ve learned. They can impart their wisdom on you. Don’t forget the mentorship relationship can work both ways. It’s not just an old person to a young person, it can go the other direction because there’s things you can teach them. There are things they can learn from you.

I would really, really encourage anyone to reach out and find a mentor. It could be someone that’s formally dubbed as your mentor where you have things that are set up; it could simply be someone in the office or outside of the office that you look up to, whether they’re in your industry or outside it. Just somebody you can learn from. Again, taking that true interest in people, people love to talk about themselves. Ask them, “What do you think about this? How did you get past this? I see you’ve done this, how did you get there? Where did you start?” You’d be surprised what you learn by just listening.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, good advice. Finally, Kirk, when someone leaves an internship, how do you recommend they stay connected to an employer after that departure?

Kirk Baumann:

When you leave an employer or move on to a new role, I always…Relationships are lifelong relationships, lifetime relationships. I would encourage anyone who is interning or as a new hire coming on to a company, look at this as the long game. It may not pay off right now, it may never pay off, but look at it as a way to invest and keep those connections warm. Let the employer know what you’re up to, offer to help when you can, that’s one thing you may not know but you can be very helpful to people. Just having that, “How can I help?” attitude will go a long way.

The most important thing to seal the deal, or keep that door open for next time, is a simple follow up. Most people just don’t do it. Follow up. Thank them for the time, thank them for the experience, mention something you learned over the summer or during the time you worked with the company. Then, restate your interest that you want to come back, that you want to pursue a full-time career, or, “Thanks for opening my eyes to this…” Again, those types of actions, and it could be email in today’s age, I will say that emails get lost. I’m looking at my email inbox, it’s got a few hundred in it right now, and I may or may not be able to find what comes in today. But a handwritten thank you note is rare. It will set you apart and can be the thing that seals the deal.

Think about, not just your boss, not just your manager, but the team you worked with. Even some of the other interns, before you leave, make sure you get contact information, connect on Facebook, whatever it is that you’re using to keep connected. Keep those relationships going because you never know where people will land. You’ll be really surprised on how far that takes you. Never underestimate the power of connecting with others.

Mac Prichard:

Well, everything you say certainly rings true for me. I had an internship in college; it was transformative and really opened up a whole new world for me and led to all sorts of new opportunities. That was thirty-nine years ago and I’m still in touch with my former supervisor. We had dinner in Washington DC just about six months ago.

Kirk Baumann:

Awesome.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, everything you’re doing rings true. Well, Kirk, we have to bring the conversation to a close. Tell us what’s next for you and I’m happy to share how people can find out more about you too.

Kirk Baumann:

Sure. Yeah, so what’s next for me, I’ve recently started a new career. A new position in a new industry, actually. I’m now working in the hospitality industry. Really looking forward to learning, growing, working with people, it’s all about connecting people to purpose. Really figuring out how we can help each other thrive. That can be in any industry but I’m really excited in this new role. It entails things like employee experience, onboarding training, all kinds of fun stuff. I’m really getting focused on building on relationships, reaching out, listening, and understanding what drives people and how can we help them succeed and be their best selves, so that’s what it is for me.

I am a lifelong learner. I still want to continue to hone my skill and to learn new things. Keeping up on trends and things that are coming just around the bend here. Just remaining as relevant as possible and keeping those relationships going.

Mac Prichard:

Well, terrific. I know you continue to publish at CampustoCareer.com. You also encourage people to connect with you directly on LinkedIn and they can find you at KirkBaumann. I hope our listeners will follow up on that. Thanks for being on the show this week.

Kirk Baumann:

Thank you, Mac. I appreciate it.

Mac Prichard:

Take care.

Kirk Baumann:

Take care.

Mac Prichard:

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Jessica and Leila. What are your reactions to my conversation with Kirk about how people can stand out in an internship? What do you two think?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, he made a lot of really interesting points. I think that was a great interview, Mac.

One of the things that I thought he explained really well was how people underestimate the value of internships.

Jessica Black:

I agree.

Leila O’Hara:

I know that me too, personally, I had some internships in college where it was a three month internships or a six month internship, and I would just go into the internship, learn a lot, but then it would end and I would be like, “Okay that’s over. On to the next thing.” I wouldn’t really think about keeping those relationships intact, or following up with a thank-you for the employer. It being an ongoing thing, not just an open and close book. I think he did a great job of explaining how you can make the most of your internship and have it be more than just a one time thing.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I agree. Kirk used this for folks in school as students, and in that scenario, this is oftentimes people’s first professional experience within an organization or a company. Just getting an inside look as to how an organization is run and working with different departments and making those connections that way, later in their careers of being able to take it very seriously, know what to look for to be able to grow your career skills and those relationships.

Mac Prichard:

I like your point, Jessica, about mid-career internships. Sometimes they’re called fellowships or they can be part of an academic program that you might return to if you’re getting a Master’s degree in your thirties or forties. But whether it’s called a fellowship or an internship, it’s again, a valuable and important part of career development.

I think that many listeners may think that interns are for college students and I like the fact that you brought that up.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, it’s not just for students.

Mac Prichard:

Well, it could be for grad students or people who are making that mid-career shift you talked about. Again, it’s a chance to road test a field and find out if that’s what you want to do.

I would also add, this didn’t come up directly in the conversation but increasingly, in the last few years, when I talk to employers, so many of them are using internship programs, particularly with college students, as a way to identify who they want to hire for entry level positions. They might have two or three interns during the course of a year and invite one back after graduation. Because they’ve seen that person perform. Now, if you don’t receive a job offer, you both have touched on this, there’s so many other benefits that you can get from an internship.

Great conversation. Thank you, Kirk, thank you, Jessica and Leila, and thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

Don’t let yourself get surprised by a tough behavioral interview question the next time you talk to an employer. Get your copy today of 100 Behavioral Interview Questions. Go to macslist.org/questions.

Join us next Wednesday, when our special guest will be Sara Holtz. She’s going to talk about how you can build your network strategically.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

If you’re looking for a new job opportunity, you may be weighing out the possibility of taking an internship. But you shouldn’t underestimate the value of internships. Internships can unlock new opportunities, forge new relationships, and create lifelong connections. Find out how to stand out as an intern and stay connected after your internship ends with insights from career expert Kirk Baumann.

About Our Guest: Kirk Baumann

Kirk Baumann is an experienced talent acquisition leader, connecting people to their purpose. As a career and leadership expert recognized globally, Kirk has helped launch thousands of careers for young leaders and thrives on building lasting relationships. Named one of the 100 Most Social HR Experts on Twitter by The Huffington Post, Kirk is the founder and author of the award-winning career advice blog, Campus to Career. Kirk’s advice has been featured in Business News Daily, Mashable, and US News & World Report.

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