Friday, January 16, 2009

Internship Application Advice

What I look for in an internship application
Nancie Ravenel, objects conservator, Shelburne Museum

I might be a little late in posting our summer work project, but I'd like to put my cards on the table and tell you what I'm looking for in an application package. I don't know if what we do is typical, but we don't generally interview candidates for the summer work projects. I make my decisions solely based on the application and references.

Cover letter
I like to see that you've looked at what I've posted and thought about it. Its great to tell me why you think you'd be great for the job, but also tell me what you think the job could do for you, what you hope to gain from the experience. Where are you in your educational process and what lessons do you think that the project will teach you? Please check out our website. Is there something going on at the museum that you hope you'll be able to experience during the internship beyond the posted project?

Please pay attention to details. Double check that you've spelled names correctly – particularly the museum's! If you need to, have a friend proofread.

Is there anything we will need to know in processing your application? If you are not an American citizen, do you have the appropriate papers or will we need to start a visa process for you? Its not an application killer, we’ve had about half a dozen interns working in the lab over the years. It is helpful to know so that I can jump right on that visa process if I need to. Similarly, if you are applying from outside the US, let me know if you are an American or carry dual citizenship.

In my posts I ask for three references, no more than two from academia. Your teachers all think you're fantastic, and they provide me with some wonderful observations about your work. I really need to talk to somebody who has supervised your work, ideally a conservator, but I can also talk to shop managers or restaurant owners.

Please give me complete contact information. I typically email your references to set up a meeting by phone.

I prefer that you send your applications via email. It makes my life so much easier. I may be uncommon in this, so best to ask the institution about what makes their life easier.

Please don't wait until the last moment of the closing date to send it in. Rightly or wrongly, I tend to consider when an application arrives as a measure of the candidate's interest.

So that’s what I look for. Best wishes to everybody for finding a good fit for the summer.

1 comment:

Ludivine Baugier said...

Hi, it's been over a year now since you've posted this article but would you perhaps be looking for an intern for this summer? I'm available all of May and June. I'm a second year univeristy student majoring in Physics and minoring in Art History. Thank you for emailing me if you're interested.