Navigating Through a Competitive Internship Market

Published on August 15, 2018 in PECO Culture and Leadership & Development
Eva Whitley
Eva Whitley
Leasing Intern

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The internship market is competitive. For many students, summer break is the only time they have to get an internship experience in their career field before they enter the “real world.” It can be difficult and draining trying to find the right fit. I hope that I can provide some valuable insights into what it takes to stand out to employers and navigate corporate America in an increasingly competitive internship world.

Apply Everywhere
It sounds crazy, but I applied to over 100 internships when I began searching for opportunities no joke. My college, the University of Georgia, has an online job portal called Handshake that helped me find internships and made it easier to apply to them. I knew there were a lot of companies looking for interns, but I also knew that for every company looking there were a stack of resumes of eager college students hoping to get a shot. Persistence paid off and I was grateful for the opportunity I was given at Phillips Edison (PECO).

Take the Interview
It took a while before I heard back from anybody, as the job-search process is a huge waiting game. When I began hearing back from the places I applied, I interviewed with every company that extended the opportunity. Even if I wasn't sure about the position, I knew I wanted to gain experience and become more confident in the interview process. I also made sure to write down frequently asked questions or questions that stumped me so that I could look over the list before my next interviews and figure out what I wanted to say. The answers were never scripted, but it helped to be familiar with the possible topics I may be asked about. 

Additionally, I would check Glassdoor.com for interview questions that people were asked during their experience, which helped a lot. I learned how to tailor my answers to different companies by looking on their websites and finding certain catch-phrases that fit the job description. Another thing that I found to be useful was having a few questions written down to ask interviewers that were focused more about them and their experience with the company, rather than about my role. After a few interviews, I started being more selective with who I interviewed with, and that’s when I discovered PECO.

Know What You Want and Go After It
When I interviewed with PECO, I instantly felt like I clicked with the people and the culture. The interview felt more like a conversation than an interrogation, and that was ultimately what drew me to the company. I felt like they were genuinely trying to get to know me, and the job description fit with the kind of experience I was hoping to gain – it was a win-win for everyone. I learned that if you really want an internship, make sure to communicate it end the interview expressing your interest and send a thank you letter.

Through this learning process and taking these steps, I was able to score my incredible internship with PECO this summer. I have enjoyed learning, growing and working alongside everyone in the Atlanta office. The passion they have for what they do is contagious, and I am so thankful I got to be a part of their team for the summer.
 
Eva Whitley
Eva Whitley
Leasing Intern