Liz Wessel is the CEO and co-founder of WayUp, an online platform where professionals starting out in their careers can find job and internship opportunities, get career advice, and connect with employers. Needless to say, she has quite a bit of professional experience under her belt, and now she’s helping people do the same. Below, she shares her advice for college students on how to get internships with limited experience, how to nail an interview, and what she looks for in potential interns.
Q: How can students make their resume stand out with limited or no experience in the field?
LW: Even though you don’t have ten (or even five!) years of work experience as a student, there are valuable skills and lessons you picked up in college, and even in high school, that you can highlight on your resume.
For example, let's say you were Social Chair of your fraternity. You probably learned critical skills including managing a budget, coordinating events for hundreds of people, managing communications to various stakeholders, and so on. On your resume, make sure to focus on key accomplishments tied to these skills, rather than on your day-to-day tasks. Include lines such as “I managed a $22,000 annual social budget for my fraternity, and was able to host lower cost events than in any previous year, while also yielding the highest NPS/satisfaction scores of any events we’ve thrown in over a decade.” Actions speak louder than words, and you should make sure to use metrics and results to show it.
Q: How can students nail the interview process?
LW: When interviewing for a new position, do your homework on the organization beforehand, and graciously follow up after. I promise that by doing this, you’ll stick out (in a good way!) from other candidates. An acronym I came up with that I love to promote is REAF: “Research” (ahead of time), “Enthusiasm” (show it!), “Ask Questions” (throughout the interview), and “Follow Up” (after the interview).
Q: What is one quality you look for in a potential intern?
LW: The best interns are proactive: they take initiative and continuously seek out opportunities to learn and grow. They also get out of their comfort zone -- they make it their duty to meet (and even work with) people across the company, and not just those on their team.