How to land your dream internship

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | Hatchet Photographer

Want to intern on Capitol Hill this summer? Show your enthusiasm and don't shy away from basic tasks.

Updated: Nov. 16, 2015 at 1:27 p.m.

As the semester comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about how to bulk up your work experience this summer. To navigate the internship application process, we talked to hirers to get tips for the most sought-after positions in the District.

Don’t be afraid of basic tasks
Jaimie Matthews, a 2011 graduate of GW’s Master of Education program, is the senior manager for programs and operations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Matthews said that, as an intern, you should be willing to take on some of the least glamorous jobs and responsibilities.

“You may have to do administrative tasks. That’s just the name of the game. I have been here for five years and I have been in the workforce for almost 10 years now, and I still do administrative things on a pretty regular basis,” Matthews said. “Getting outside of that mindset of, ‘I’m too good to do that’ or, ‘I didn’t go to college so that I could make copies’ is important.”

Show that you’re passionate
Matthews says that if you are passionate about a project, you will work harder on it. That’s why when looking through internship applications, he looks for people who show interest.

“One of the first questions that I ask the person is, “What do you know about our organization?” and if they say, ‘Not much,’ then that doesn’t really tell me that they’re actually interested in the position,” Matthews said.

Matthews said that students who have background knowledge about their internship sites – like past and current projects at the Chamber of Commerce that they find interesting – stand out to her the most.

Practice your people skills
Paige Kulie, the clinical research supervisor at GW Medical Faculty Associates, reads hundreds of applications each time an internship is available.

Kulie said that even in a research-based internship, people skills, like empathy and patience, are extremely important.

“We like to look for a demonstration of people skills or some experience in the past on their resume where they would have built people skills because they have a lot of interaction with patients,” she said.

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