Ahhhh! Summer is upon us. Its time for endless days at the beach just basking in the sun without a care in the world. Let the sand run between your toes as you watch listless clouds float by. Crisp, cold drinks and iced beer make their frosty appearances as you take that first sip and wonder how you ever worried about silly things like bills and final exams.
BAM! And then you wake up to the blare of an alarm and the realization that you have snoozed through its blistering sounds for the last 45 minutes making you late for your 8am Chemistry exam. The only remnant of your summer dream is a thin sliver of drool making its way down your chin. As you gather up your notepads and textbook and speed to class, you seem to have much more on your mind than your impending chemistry test (how does electromagnetic radiation carry energy to a receiver from a transmitter again?!). With summer just around the corner and tuition increases an all-too-real possibility, you will need to start looking for a summer job. Sure, you could just walk in and secure a position in the electronics department at your local Wal-Mart, but being a junior in college, it might be high time to begin exploring internships that actually RELATE to your major and that will get you the foothold you need in the industry you’re actually studying.
Once you have visited your college advisor and the career resources department at your university in search for summer internship opportunities and once your resume is polished and submitted, the interview requests will start rolling in (that is, of course, unless you are a drama major attempting to secure an internship position at the top chemical engineering firm in the city, in which case, good luck). In addition to being doubly sure that you actually KNOW all of the skills and keywords you wrote about in your resume and cover letter, you will want to make sure you look the part for your interview.
Now, it may be very tempting for a high school or college student who is used to wearing faded t-shirts and ripped jeans to simply do the bare minimum in terms of dressing up for an internship interview; however, bear in mind that also applying for these same internships are those brown-nosing eager beaver students who would bring in freshly baked homemade cupcakes to the interview if they thought it would secure them the position. Yes, that’s right. The guy from your statistics class who always raises his hand to ask a few more questions right when your professor is about to let everyone leave class a little early on a Friday afternoon…he will probably be there. So will that girl who lingers behind in class everyday to see if there is any extra work she can do for the week since she has already written her 15 page paper that is not due for another three weeks. These brown-nosers will be dressed to kill in one of the fifteen suits they have already purchased for just this internship opportunity, so you will need to look the part to compete.
So now you have the suit all tailored and pressed (yes, you will need to get it tailored and pressed for the perfect fit). Why not take your appearance one step further and do something that those brown-nosers may have easily overlooked? Pair your suit with the perfect set of cufflinks. Here are a few hints on selecting the right cufflinks for the right internship. After all, in this decision, it’s imperative that you know and work with your audience.
o If you are, say, competing for an internship at one of the top law firms in the city, you could go a couple of different ways. As lawyers are known for their conservative ways, you cannot go wrong picking a traditional solid-colored set of cufflinks. A classic set like single-colored knot cufflinks would also be very appropriate, as long as they are matched to your shirt and tie. If you don’t want to be too traditional and would rather have a little bit of an edge, there are many lawyer-related cufflinks to choose from like cufflinks that depict the scales of justice or a gavel. Don’t try to get cute by wearing ambulance or barracuda cufflinks or the only door you will see is the exit door.
o Should you be applying for an accounting, engineering or financial services intern position, the same rules apply. These are considered the more conservative industries, so try to keep your entire look traditional. Some variations are acceptable, like wearing golf-themed cufflinks, since this is considered a traditional sport. However, should you be heavily into motorcycles, now might not be the time to whip out those Harley Davidson cufflinks.
o If you are competing for a position as a graphic artist or a video game designer and programmer where the office might be a little more laid-back than the typical corporate environment (ping pong tables and video came consoles in the break room as opposed to Financial Times newspapers strewn about the espresso machine), you will still want to make a professional appearance with a suit and tie; however, you could add a little bit of zing and creativity to your attire with some themed cufflinks. For example, you could choose some sterling silver Batman cufflinks or high-tech-inspired cufflinks (CD or microchip ones, for instance). Just do your best not to take this leeway a little too far. You want to come across to your potential new employer as professional and creative, not as that eccentric guy who sits in his cubicle burning incense and listening to Bob Marley all day whilst grooming his Chia pet.
Sure, there is a possibility you might be getting paid squat as a summer intern and used as the office whipping boy running errands for the big whigs and doing their dirty meticulous work; however, you will be gaining experience in your industry that will look fantastic on your resume and you are sure to be earning a bit more than a stocker at Wal-Mart. By simply dressing the part and backing that up with actual knowledge and experience (bone up on your interview questions beforehand), you are guaranteed a shot at that summer internship.