An Insider's Guide to Rocking Your Internship

Last Updated Feb 4, 2011 7:58 AM EST

We recently posted internship resume tips from James Kotecki, the director of the internship program at The Cypress Group and a writer for CampusSplash. But we thought Kotecki, as an internship program insider, must have additional wisdom to share, so we asked him.

Here's his personal take on what makes a stellar intern (and an exceptional internship program) and how those aiming for competitive placements can get noticed:

What makes a really great intern?
The best interns are ridiculously motivated to learn about our business. They'll come find me when they've finished a project and suggest new research topics before I can think them up. I like to hire interns whose extreme productivity levels will actually annoy me.

What constitutes a good internship? Any red flags potential interns should look out for that might indicate an internship isn't worth their time?
Internship programs should give students freedom and responsibility to grow. The purpose of an internship is to learn â€" about the career, about whatever you're working on, about yourself.

If you're not learning, quit. Your time in college is simply too precious to waste on coffee runs. That might be counter-intuitive for motivated students who've never quit anything in their lives; it's certainly a lesson I learned the hard way. I'm writing a CampusSplash article to explain my quitting advice in more detail.

Obviously, when you're looking for interns, candidates' academic background and relevant experience is important, but is there anything else less obvious that you keep an eye out for?
Even though I hate irrelevant resume padding, I do like the occasional nugget of personality. I remember one guy whose interests included tree house construction.
When potential interns come in to interview what qualities are you looking for?
Almost everyone we interview is qualified for the job. Our interviews are more about assessing whether you fit with our culture â€" are you mature enough to work with limited guidance but relaxed enough to join an impromptu Michael Jackson dance party?

Want to hear more from Kotecki? Follow him on Twitter. (And if you're not yet following ELR, our tweets are here.) Read more on BNET: (Image courtesy of Flickr user Katerha, CC 2.0)
  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.

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