100 Best Companies to Work For
St. Louis, MO (Vocus) March 6, 2008
For some college students, a summer college internship is a welcome break from studying. For others, an internship can be the launch pad to a great career. As more students and employers recognize the value of internships, the competition is as steep as ever. Knowing what employers are looking for and how to reach them can improve your chances of getting an internship. Many companies, including Scottrade, a leading branch-supported online investment firm, have formal internship programs that allow students to gain real work experience.
Scottrade, whose internship program is featured by Inc.com as one of “America’s Coolest Internships,” hires more than 200 interns across the country each year. Internships often lead into a great first job after graduation. More than a third of the interns from Scottrade’s internship program accept full-time positions with the online brokerage after graduation. In fact, of the firm’s 343 branch offices nationwide, more than 20 percent of branch managers at Scottrade started with the company as interns. The internship program was also cited as one of the strengths that made Scottrade one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America in 2008.
Amy Meister, recruiter and internship coordinator at Scottrade, shares some tips to help college students start a career through a great internship.
1. Use all of your resources to find a great internship
You don’t have to look too far to find a great resource. Take advantage of the career counselors and advisors at your college or university and look to your network of friends. Upperclassmen may be able to recommend internships they have held or heard about.
2. Practice professional job seeking skills
Take your internship search seriously as if you were looking for a full-time job. Formalize your correspondence and avoid using “text messaging” grammar or spelling. Make sure your e-mail screen name is appropriate. Set up a more professional user name, such as using your first initial and last name, or use a university or college e-mail address. Check your voice mail message and ask yourself if that message would resonate well with a potential employer.
3. Show an interest in the company
Your initial query or cover letter should be personalized and reference the company and position you are applying for. Do some research about the company and point out any prior experiences that relates to the company. Once you have booked an interview, take the time to research the company further and know what you seek to gain from the position and what you can contribute. When you sit down for the interview, ask informed questions.
4. First impressions are important
It is ok to be nervous, but show your confidence. A great handshake, eye contact, good posture and concentration are keys to creating a great impression. Although casual is in, dressing professionally and wearing a suit shows that you will take the job seriously.
5. Make your experience relate
Employers realize college students may have little professional experience, but that does not mean you should not have a solid resume. Include part-time jobs, volunteer work, fundraising and charitable activities, athletics and even school-related projects that may align with the internship you are seeking. Make connections that work. For example, working as a cashier might not sound impressive or even relevant to an online brokerage. By making these connections, you can show that you are accurate, have handled money and filled out deposit slips and most importantly, that you have experience working with others and resolving customer issues.
6. Think outside the semester
Scottrade, like many companies, values its internship program as a source for hiring top young talent. Let the internship recruiter know that your goal is to work with that company beyond your internship.
After the interview, send a thank-you letter by mail or e-mail. This will give you another chance to represent yourself to the internship recruiter and hiring manager and reiterate key points from your interview and your interest in the internship.
Scottrade hires interns attending accredited two or four-year colleges and accepts applications year-round through the Scottrade Career Center, Internship Opportunities Page. Broker intern positions are available at most of Scottrade’s 343 branch offices across the country. At the corporate headquarters in St. Louis, internships are available in information technology and business-related disciplines.
Scottrade is a leader in online investing, serving individual investors who are comfortable making their own investment decisions. Scottrade is unique in the industry because it boasts low commission rates while offering the largest branch network among online brokerages, with 343 local branch offices nationwide. In October 2007, Scottrade was named Highest in Investor Satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates for the seventh time. Scottrade.com is the online trading site of Scottrade, Inc. and offers customers the convenience of placing many orders online for just $7 per trade. In addition to its online capabilities, Scottrade staffs each easily accessible branch location with a branch manager plus additional brokers and assistants. In January 2008, Scottrade was named one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America for the first time. For more, visit http://www.scottrade.com or http://www.scottrade.com/careers.
Patricia Lee, Scottrade
(314) 965-1555 x3581