“Make sure you show interest in your future boss at an interview, give him a compliment about his beautiful office, something like: What a beautiful office! Did you decorate it yourself?”
“Don’t give a compliment about their office, that’s so cliché”
My first interview, I was thinking about these two pieces of advice I had, to start with ‘small talk.’ To compliment the office or to not? That was my question when my hands were all sweaty and shaking (dammit, too much coffee) and all I could concentrate on were those two pieces of advice. I was at the door of the office (drumroll) pushed the door open, and quickly looked for something beautiful, something that stood out, a picture? Kids? Something with color? The carpet? Her coffee mug? I thought: You’re a woman! You have to have SOMETHING! Flowers – anything! But no, the office couldn’t be more plain, grey carpet, white walls, plain table (few papers), two chairs, and a plant which you would make you look stupid if you gave it a compliment. Most of the color in the room was on her, but that was dangerous territory for me, too much color, and I would probably be staring before I found something to compliment her on. So I gave up, and sat down, with a glass of water, and the interview started…
The view on an internship
Throughout my study, and side jobs, I met many people who were preparing for an internship, or in one. I would always ask them what they were studying, why this company, and what they had to do during their internship. Most of them would answer; You can’t escape the fact that you have to follow an internship, it’s a must. The company they were at didn’t matter, as long as they got their tedious job done. However, there were times where the student learned to appreciate the hard work that had to be put in the company to keep it running, and most of my bosses were pretty flexible and in a word – fun, where the student would even grow such a great bond with them that they would come in an hour earlier before they were actually supposed to start. On the other hand, there were those students who really just did it for the points, and to get out. I would get tired of their ‘depressed moods’ and ask them: Well, if you don’t like it, why did you choose this internship? And, correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t an internship have something to do with the job you are going to do in the future? And wouldn’t that mean that you will also hate your job with as much passion as you hate this internship?
The preparation for an internship
As time passed by, me and my fellow classmates were being prepared for our internships, or applying for one. A great teacher said: Solliciteren is werken (Applying for a job/internship is a job itself). During the time of learning how to apply, to actually starting on my first application letters, I realized; Applying for an internship is a job itself. I took a few hours in writing my letters, no spelling mistakes, no grammar mistakes, re-read for the 20th time, check my Curriculum Vitae for the 100th time, was it short/long enough? Did I have everything I need in it? Does it look professional?
Letter is sent, now sit down and start doing all the research you can about the company. But, what you don’t realize, is that the company is also indirectly associated with other companies. What if they ask about those companies? Research those companies aswell. Their history, their ups and downs, their directors, their motivation, their motto, literally everything. This is good, you learn allot about different companies, but you may go crazy like me, when I started unconsciously memorizing the amount of flights KLM made, and how many passengers they had a year, for some reason, I remembered that. The thing is, you can’t stick with one company and just prepare for them, you may not be accepted for the internship and have to start with researching another company, because you may not get the ‘call-back’ or, you may, but just after three weeks, and you can’t waste those three weeks not applying. You’re on a time limit aswell.
My first interview for an internship
My first rule for every appointment: Never be late. I had never been to the place where I had my interview, it was somewhere around the airport, but where, I didn’t know. I had planned that I would be there one hour in advance, in case I got lost, I would have an hour to re-route and look again. I made sure my suit was clean and ironed the night before, and printed out all the possible ways to get there from the internet. That night, I barely slept, it felt like I was getting prepared for this huge presentation, which, it kind of was. I woke up way too early so had all the time to review a few things, and eat a good breakfast. On my way there I made sure I cleared my mind with some podcasts, to make sure I didn’t sound like a robot at the interview as I had been memorizing everything.
I got there, and realized the bus dropped me off right in front of their office (I never believed the 5 min walk they advised on internet, what if you start walking the wrong way?). So, there I was, one hour too early, and in the middle of buildings. My dad said, if you’re too early, walk around, look at a few things – there was nothing to see, just buildings. Nevertheless I started walking around, and noticed people looking at me, they must have thought: this is the third time she passes by, is she lost? I found my self walking to a parking lot, and behind it were some airplanes that were parked, finally, something to look it. Now, picture this, you’re in the middle of a few tall buildings, and then you start walking through this endless parking lot, in your nice, neat suit, and some high heels, it’s not everyday people see this there, so I tried to look like I had a point in walking in the middle of the parking lot, a few people asked me what I was doing there, and I answered: Uh, I’m looking for my car. Luckily, they never asked which car it was, or if they could help, they probably thought I was real stupid, maybe. You never know, a girl, all on her own, walking in a parking lot, which is near a few airplanes. What if she was up to something? Security?
After walking for 45 minutes around the middle of no where, I walked to the building, where I would be 15 minutes early for my interview, good time, wouldn’t you say? I realized I wasn’t the only one, but what shocked me was, I was the only one in a suit, everyone was dressed in jeans and t-shirts, which I found odd, because this is your first interview, and first appearances do make a big impression. I sat there, drinking tea and found myself engrossed in all the magazines they had about their company, I enjoyed reading them, and wished I could take them home, or had come in early instead of walking around in the middle of no where for 45 minutes.
Finally, my turn, I was asked to go to the office at the end of the hall, and it was the door on the right. My entrance was like I described at the beginning of this blog. The interview went quite well, although everything I rehearsed kind of flew out the window, other than a few things. I realised I forgot both languages, English and Dutch, while I could speak them fluently, I was extremely nervous. The interview was in Dutch, but I kept on saying English words in between, and when I needed an English word, I said it in Dutch, so, that didn’t quite go to well, I must say. Nevertheless, I had two interviewers who were really kind. However, I was mostly looking at the ‘boss’ I would be working for, I had so many questions running through my head; How did she get here? What did she study? How long has she been working here? The recruiter, was pretty down to the point, asking specific questions, which I could luckily answer. In the end, I realized I hadn’t even touched my water, and we were done talking, and I could go. Once in the hall, I was ready to faint – wow, it’s done, phew…
I never got a call back from that interview, I guess I wasn’t the right candidate.
Applying for internships
I’m currently still applying for internships, although I have noticed there aren’t that many available for Aviation Students, or maybe just me, because I do want an internship I would like to follow. I will be following this internship for a period of 4 months or more, and from very early in the morning to the late hours in the evening, and apart from liking the internship I want to learn allot from it, because I see it as a big chance to get you ready for the ‘real career world.’
Aviation is international, so I have the chance to also look for an internship outside of the Netherlands. I realised after a few days of searching for internships in the Netherlands, that there were barely any available, so I started all over again and started searching for internships around the world. I was amazed by all the different companies, and amazed by some companies that I contacted, who, kindly showed me where to look and who to contact since I was at the wrong address at first.
Like my tweet; I feel like a kid in a candy shop when looking for an internship. The question is, will I get the candy I want?