How to prepare for a job interview

When you land an interview for a job you have been longing for a long time, it is therefore normal to be anxious. Here are some tips to help you get your dream job.

First, collect information about the company.
Many people do not bother researching information about their potential future company, which means that a simple way to stand out from the majority of the people is to search on the Internet for the company’s activity, its goals and achievements, its directors’ names, its market share as well as its news. Furthermore, with this information you can predict your employer’s expectations more efficiently and then proceed to the second step.

Prepare the questions
Once you are done with the first part, you can now try to prepare the famous strengths and weaknesses question; and this is why predicting your employer’s expectations can be quite important, as he will often be looking for a specific profile. Write down a few strengths and weaknesses you find relevant for the position and the company you apply and drill until you sound natural and convincing. Also, you should prepare at least one or two examples for each of your statement as the recruiter is likely to ask for more precision as well as examples from your previous jobs. Maybe you can ask one of your acquaintances to play the role of the recruiter.
Another important point is to prepare a few questions you will ask the employer. It shows that you have a certain knowledge of the company through researches and will make your employer think that you are self-motivated.
Obviously, an employer is looking for someone capable of improving the company, so it is important that you come up with a few additional qualities of yours which are likely to improve it, keeping in mind that it must suit the company’s profile and aims.

Your employer may or may not talk about your income. If he does not talk about it, then you NEED to do it, which means that you have to study the average wages for this job and prepare a spread to be sure you will not earn less than the minimum you expected.

Last heads-up
An important thing is to never ever ever criticise your previous companies, as it would reveal that you are not faithful nor involved in your enterprises.
Moreover, try to dress appropriately. This should be quite easy to find out.
Before going to the job interview, make sure you have a pouch containing some CVs, a jotter, some pens and a dose of relevant humour.

Do not forget to arrive 5-10 minutes in advance; try to appear serious, motivated and confident, and exercise your handshake if possible.
Good luck!

What our handshake reveals about us

During an interview, be it for an internship or a real job, the employer will employ many tactics to determine whether you are fit for the position – and the handshake is the very first of them. It can reveal more about your personality than you might think. There are several types of handshakes:

The Bone Crusher
The Bone Crusher squeezes your hand firmly – too firmly. There is a message of power and intimidation behind the grip. When you shake hands with the Bone Crusher, don’t feel tempted to start a hand-squeezing contest. However, present yourself with strength during the interview, because the Bone Crusher usually also expects self-confidence and determination in his applicants.

The Dead Fish
This is a limp and indifferent handshake that feels like shaking a dead fish rather than a hand. Persons with this handshake might have a passive or reserved personality and are generally not people-focused. What matters to them is the technical or mechanical aspect of something. With this handshake, you symbolically give the other person the “upper hand”. In business, you want to be considered an equal, so avoid this handshake if possible.

The Politician
The other person grabs your hand like in a normal handshake, but his other hand covers yours or is placed on your forearm or shoulder. This “double-hander” handshake tries to communicate that the two of you have a strong, trustworthy relationship. However, this close human contact can be inappropriate in many business situations. Think of the Politician as a mini-hug. Would it be appropriate to give the other person a short hug? If no, avoid giving them a “double-hander” handshake.

The Finger Vice
The Finger Vice grabs only your fingers instead of your whole hand. It is meant to keep you at a distance, be it out of insecurity or to demonstrate personal power. The Finger Vice is often looking for partners that are compliant and willing to look for compromises instead of people that seek open confrontation.

The perfect handshake is firm, not too hard and definitely not too soft. It lasts for 2-3 seconds and you should make eye contact the whole time. Sweaty hands are a normal body reaction when you are anxious or nervous but undesirable in a job interview, so make sure to wipe them dry before you shake hands with your future employer. Most importantly, however: do not forget to smile!

The transparent applicant – recruiting in the digital age

It is nothing new that recruiters trace their applicants’ activity on social networks in order to find out if they are suitable for a position or not. What is new, however, is that programmers have implemented an algorithm for calculating a social media popularity score that can easily be compared among applicants.

This score, called Klout-score, is a number between 0 (a digital no-name) and 100 (has a great deal of influential connections). The algorithm considers three factors:
1. quantity of digital relations, ie. how many friends, followers or subscribers you have
2. the power of mobilisation, meaning how many people share, like or comment on your posts
3. the quality of your network, ie. how influential your contacts are
Every user of social networks will be judged – whether they ask for it or not. The Klout-score of your Twitter account, for example, is accessible by anyone unless you oppose explicitly to this collection of data.

Why do companies care about what happens in the virtual world?
Criticism about a product or a company by an influential person will spread quickly and can undermine a company’s image. Praise from powerful people, on the other hand, is the most effective form of advertisement. If a company can determine who has the most influence, they will give them free samples or presents – and word of mouth will do the rest.

All these scores and calculations may seem intimidating, but they can teach us something: Choose wisely which information you share on social networks and with whom you want to be connected. Before you post a new picture or message, give it a thought: Would you be comfortable with your future boss or recruiter seeing this?

Does this mean that our personality is more important than our knowledge and skills? Another new trend suggests so: personality tests for choosing applicants. The main problem is that there is no standardised testing method and answers can often be interpreted in many ways, which results in a lack of objectiveness and comparability. Another criticism is that as soon as you have realised which personality traits a company expects from their applicants, it is not too difficult to manipulate your answers accordingly. Are there several questions regarding the readiness to take risks? This probably means that the company is looking for someone who is outgoing and daring.

Some people claim that being able to manipulate the test according to the recruiters’ expectations shows that you have the desired social skills to adapt to a situation. However, your boss will be disappointed if your real personality differs greatly from your allegedly honest answers. You will be unsatisfied with the position as well if you always need to pretend to be another person.

Present yourself in the best possible way, but never lie only to impress someone. Do not pretend to be a whole other person – it might get you the job but will backfire eventually.

Skills should always remain the deciding factor for who will be hired, but looking for certain personality traits in applicants – be it through social network analyses or personality tests – can bring several benefits. A team whose members think and work in the same way will collaborate better and be more efficient. Employees who identify with the company’s image will be more satisfied in their position and show more motivation to represent and advertise the company.

Internship: training before a marathon

No one gets up in the morning and runs an entire marathon without previous training. It takes a long period of constant exercise to reach this goal. The same holds true with regard to the job market: it is highly unlikely that your first job will be a leading position in a renowned company. You have to take small steps in order to reach this goal some day. The first step is your academic education: school or university give you the theoretical framework and knowledge you need in your job field. However, no one has ever won a marathon after having only read some books on the right running technique. Practical experience and training are essential, and this is what an internship can provide you with.

Whether you complete an internship or train for a marathon, you will pass through different stages.

At first, everything will be new and exciting. Both running and doing an internship are exhausting endeavours because you are not used to the physical and mental strain in the beginning, but the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones. You are curious to learn new things and eager to make progress, but maybe you are a little bit confused because you are not yet completely clear about what your tasks are. When it comes to running, you might not have found the right technique yet.

Sooner or later you will move on to the second phase. This is the critical period, when many people give up or believe that their goal is not worth fighting for any more. Running has now become a habit. Unlike in the first few days or weeks, you no longer make big progress , but at the same time you are still far away from being able to run a marathon. The same might happen in a work environment, when the initial excitement has worn out and a certain routine has developed. Now it is important not to forget how much progress you have already made. A few weeks ago you were not sporty at all or you had little practical experience in your field of study. It might help you to make a list of the small steps you are taking. For example, take notes whenever you manage to run a few metres more than the previous day, you find a new solution to a problem or you learn a new word or phrase. Soon you will realise that those small achievements accumulate and disprove your belief that you do not make progress. While you look back at your achievements, do not lose sight of your goal. Remind yourself why you began with the exercise or internship in the first place.

When you have overcome the difficult second phase, your goal seems much closer, but in order to reach it you still need to make an effort. This will boost your motivation and you will come to love your work or exercise again because you are now confident in what you are doing. You know how to handle your tasks and solve problems. There will still be bad days when things go wrong or you do not live up to your expectations, but they will not discourage you because you are not as quick to doubt your skills as in the beginning.

Now you are ready for the big day: the marathon, or the job interview.
Remember all the hard work or exercise you invested in these past weeks, and most importantly: be confident. In this way you will eventually cross the finish line, or in other words: manage to get your dream job.

How to find a job in the United States

Are you thinking about finding a job abroad?
If you want a different experience, choose America.
Maybe it sounds a little bit scary to drop everything and go to look for a job in such an huge country, but with these tips to help you start your search you will feel less disorientated.
First of all, you have to consider that bureaucracy in USA is very time-consuming and strict and that your paperwork in order to be allowed to work in the country will take a long time to completeand will be demanding, but this can be overcome if you are well-informed.

Owning a Visa, a document which entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission, is compulsory if you need to enter this country, even if you are travelling.
There are two kinds of Visas: the non-immigrant, required for anyone who is seeking temporary admission into the United States, and the immigrant which is required for anyone seeking to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the USA.
If you want to apply, you need to be aged 14-79, and you have to complete an online application, schedule an appointment for an interview with a U.S. consular officer, appear at the embassy and wait for your results and documents to arrive.

Job seeking

Many daily newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the New York times could help you in your search, especially if you look Saturday’s editions!
As far as internet is concerned, have a look at Monsters, which is very similar to Linkedin.
In this website you can upload your CV, choose your desired geographic area and select your working field.
Besides, there are others portals, called job banks,in which you can find interesting job offers and contact all the companies you are interested in.
The trustiest are Gorkana, career builder and Dice.
If you wish to work in finance, this is the perfect website to start from!

How to find accomodation

Finding accomodation in the USA is not very difficult, especially in a city’s outskirts.
Also, if you are moving to be able to practice your language skills, make sure that you are aware of the slang and of the linguistic characteristics in your desired area.
Here are a few useful websites that you can visit to get an idea of prices and house-types..,,, and
Now you have some starting points to make your American dream come true, what are you waiting for?

How to build PMA at work?

A good mood in a working environment is very important because your performance and success depends on how you feel towards the work, and this can ultimately affect your future career development . Therefore, to have and know HOW to create a PMA is a very important skill, but some people encounter difficulties when trying to develop it. So here are some tips to help you to build a PMA and make your life at work that much easier.
1. Remember that you are powerful.
We play roles and cover up our true selves by identifying with “things” that end up defining who we think we are. I’m a doctor, a salesperson, a secretary, a lawyer; I’m sad, happy, lonely, or miserable. I’m angry, jealous, afraid, and I can’t help it — it’s who I am.
The truth is, though, that we are none of those things. We are more important than any label. We are not our professions. We are not our feelings. We are not even our mind.
What we are is far greater, far superior, far more important, and far more mysterious than our conceptual mind tries to define. This is why we are much more powerful than we think we are.
2. Embrace and enjoy life.
Embrace every moment of your life no matter if it contains obstacles or opportunities, and stop fussing over trivial matters and focus on things that are really important to you. Life becomes hard and unfair when we decide to complain about things rather than trying to change them ourselves. Be bold and don’t be afraid of taking risks, because at the end of your life you will regret the things you haven’t done rather than the things you did.
3. Control your reactions.
We all have problems and we’re often tested by circumstances outside our control. Even if you cannot control what’s going on, you can definitely control your reaction to those situations. By reacting effectively and responsibly, your boss may reward you which could ultimately help your career progression. Therefore, try to distinguish the problems of your personal life from your work and stay as positive as possible.
4. Believe in yourself.
We put far too much emphasis on other peoples’ opinions about us. It doesn’t matter what others are saying about you unless you agree with them. Be aware of how you see yourself, because nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Always believe that you can do anything you want, and aim high. As Dr. Seuss once said: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” If you don’t believe in yourself then how can others believe in you?
5. Keep calm.
If someone makes negative remarks about your work or the way you do it, you may start reacting negatively, get uptight with other people’s actions and in the end punish yourself because of their bad behaviour. You should try not to lose your control, because it is you who is responsible for your actions and it’s you who will have to suffer the consequences. If it is hard to keep calm, you should always remember: in the end it’s you who loses if you don’t learn the lesson.
6. Live in the moment.
Be satisfied with where you are today and don’t delay your happiness just because you are waiting for the right moment to shine. Sometimes the journey is far more important than the goal itself.
Not everyone woke up this morning and not all of them will go to sleep. Life has no guarantees, therefore, you should try to immerse yourself in the moment and enjoy your journey through life. It is not always easy, actually it is more hard than easy, but it is you who makes the choices concerning your life.
As we can see all these tips are mainly about PMA in your life, but when you think that if you have equilibrium in your personal life it is so much easier to be PMA in the work place too. In other words, start creating balance in your personal life because in that way it will take less effort to do the same at work.


Our behaviour is certainly what defines us in the eyes of others. In our life, everything depends on the way we act with others. In a work environment, this is, without doubt, the first thing that draws your bosses’ attention. Remember that during the recruitment process for a job, recruiters place a lot of importance on your attitude. For this reason it is essential to make a good impression in the first place, and to maintain this good impression that got you the job throughout your time at work.
Don’t think about your behaviour as a thing to impress your bosses. Keep in mind that is it also the best way to create relationships with your colleagues and establish a positive environment in the office.
Here is some advice to help you on your first day in a new company. Start with these tips, improve your attitude and always do your best.

1. Never be late
Go to work always rested, willing and alert. Your brain and your body need rest in order to deal with your day at work. Moreover, a lazy attitude will not impress your bosses and it can easily be interpreted as a lack of interest and superficiality in your job.
2. Be yourself
Don’t pretend to be different and, most of all, don’t lie about your skills because it can create a bad image of you if you’re found out. On the contrary, remember that if they have chosen you it is on the basis that you have something to offer, that they appreciate. Bear in mind you are also there to continue improving in your sector, so…
3. …be self-confident but humble
When you start a new job there are always a lot of things to learn, but don’t be afraid. Face every situation with determination and self-confidence. Just remember to have a humble attitude, because being pretentious is not a good business card.
4. Try to integrate yourself with your working team as soon as possible…
…and be open to engage in conversation and confrontation. It is really important to be part of a group. If you don’t know how to get involved at first, you can try to socialise with your colleagues during the breaks or at lunch-time.
5. Communication first
Make sure you have understood your tasks. If you don’t understand or if you have problems talk with your colleagues or bosses but try not to annoy them by pestering.
6. Work hard to gain consideration from your colleagues and bosses
Show your enthusiasm without exaggeration. You have to be always serious, professional, trusty and reliable. Do your best to offer work of a high quality.
7. Respect others
Be respectful of others and their work. If you respect them, they will respect you as well. To be rude and petulant will not help you to make a good impression or to obtain a friendly atmosphere in your work environment.
8. Don’t be shy
During meetings, brainstorming sessions and workshops don’t be shy, on the contrary be active and full of initiative. Share your thoughts and opinions, always in a respectful way.
9. Use a PMA (positive mental attitude)
A PMA will help you to avoid irritability and anxiety in order to face your day and your tasks in a better mood.
10. Face every problem with wit and intelligence
There is always a solution to each problem, you just have to find it. So keep calm and take your time if you need to, but never give up or switch to a negative mental attitude out of frustration. This will not help you and will exaggerate the difficulty. Remember that sometimes it’s all about learning to dance by dancing. Moreover, being able to work well in new situations or under pressure will impress your bosses.

Last but not least, pay attention to your clothes. Wearing inappropriate clothes, above all at the start of your time at work, might damage your image and reputation. Simple clothes are the way. Over time you can understand what to wear by looking at your colleagues’ attire.

Experience of a life time

Before going to university or the like, most individuals are protected within the family nest. They are often naive and do not imagine what is in store for them just a few years later. Only after arriving at university are we abandoned to ourselves to gain experience for our perfect future job. At this point people really are more independent and conscious that each oncoming step will be important for their life. Although they most generally arrive at university with the same baggage, from that moment on they all start to follow different paths.

Student employment or odd jobs
Firstly, students often have to work during their university life in order to be able to provide for themselves. Work experience is rarely, if ever, very exciting before getting a degree, but it is a first significant insight into the world of work. It can also be a real motivation for obtaining a degree – as it is often deprived of interest other than observing the real world’s hierarchy – to then have the possibility of getting a more interesting job. You can also possibly make contacts who can help you with finding other jobs later.

Secondly, students are often required to do an internship, which is a good way of discovering what their potential future job could be. An internship is a few months’ experience in a company in which you could gain a permanent post if both parties agree. This experience is very useful as the work is supposed to be closely related to your studied field in order to help you build further related skills, and hence a probationary report should be written at the end of the work experience as evidence of what you learnt. Then you are ready to enter real working life. Thus, making contacts during the internship can be quite important.

Finally, the last experience before the end of your studies, or cool time, is Erasmus. This is an exchange programme intended to improve your language skills as well as your knowledge of a foreign country’s culture. It can last from one to two semesters depending on your university agreement. Moreover, as you are a foreign student, courses you attend there should not be very difficult – often first year courses – and will leave you time to meet new people, party and explore the country. What is important to remember is that being a somewhat new, intense and long experience you will be sharing with new people, you are more likely to create strong affinities with these people.
But, it can lead to a post-erasmus depression that many people experience. Abandoning this new life that you have established away from family and with a new circle of friends is hard; after one year of settling in, having new experiences and being a foreigner, going back to the previous routine is disorientating.

After all these experiences, you should be ready to enter professional life with a thorough knowledge of what awaits you.

Cultural Conflict – what we can learn from communal living

Most of us interns normally live in small families, with their boy- or girlfriends or completely on their own, so it can be a drastic change when we are suddenly constantly surrounded by people, especially when they have diverse cultural backgrounds. However, every new and challenging situation can teach us something about ourselves or other cultures.

Recharge your batteries
Some cultures emphasise collectivity and community more than others. In these cultures it is normal to share and spend time together, while in others respect for the private sphere and property is more important. If you belong to the first group, life in community will probably be easier and less exhausting for you, because you get your energy from interactions with other people. Members of individualist cultures – even though they generally enjoy the presence of other people – may need time alone in order to recharge their batteries. However, it is essential not to isolate yourself. You do not have to take part in every activity or join every party, but at least prepare a meal and eat with the others or suggest watching a movie together instead of watching it alone in your room. If you share a room, you will have to find alternatives to spend time alone. For example, by going jogging on your own you kill two birds with one stone: spending some time alone and at the same time doing something beneficial for your health.

Learn to compromise
The more people involved in a decision-making process, the more difficult it becomes to find a consensus that is acceptable for everyone. These decisions can be trivial, such as what to cook for lunch or what to do at the weekend. While it is next to impossible to find the perfect solution, we can always aim to find one that is acceptable for everyone involved in the process. The key is to be willing to compromise and not be stubborn – but do not be apathetic either. Communicate your opinion clearly instead of simply not caring about the outcome. Finding a compromise when there are contrasting opinions is challenging, but finding a solution without a clear point of view to begin with is impossible.

Think outside the box
Your culture is like a pair of glasses that determines how you perceive the world and other people’s words and actions. It is impossible to imagine how other people perceive their surroundings. Two people might call a colour by the same name, but we cannot be sure that both see the colour in the same way. Likewise, we might use the same words in a situation but have different mental concepts, which are culturally shaped, attached to them. Even though we cannot change our perception of the world, we can become aware of the fact that our way of seeing things is neither the only nor the best one. In an unclear situation it is better to ask the other person for an explanation. In this way, you can avoid a misunderstanding and a possibly resulting conflict. The other person will be happy to share something about his or her culture and you will have the chance to learn something new and broaden your horizons.

Life in community bears considerable potential for conflict, but if you are willing to compromise and are aware of the fact that your way of thinking is neither right nor wrong, but simply different, it is a chance to learn a great deal about others. You will become more tolerant and open-minded in dealing with members from other cultures, which is beneficial for your career prospects. Being a global player, someone who knows how to mediate between different cultures, is a skill that recruiters look for in applicants nowadays.

Cooperation vs competition: internship vs academic studies

We all know how it works. We all know that money means power and power means money. We all know that nobody gives you anything free. We all know that success is achieved through fight and struggle. Indeed, the animal we use to represent a boss or a famous lawyer is a shark, not a kitten.
The question is: is this aggressiveness necessary in order to reach your goals?
Since being children at school, we are marked. We are divided into A, B, C levels and, in Italy, also the way you behave is considered a subject and you receive a number between 5 and 10 to show how good and polite you are. Tests and exams are always taken singularly and they are meant to judge your preparation and your analytical skills. Teachers foment this competition among students, inciting them to work hard and do their best not as a team, but as individuals. In this system, selfishness and taking advantage of others are rewarded as key-skills for success. Academic competition, however, is not the only way to achieve your goals. It is very unlikely that you will work alone in front of a computer, without dealing with colleagues or service provider or customers –unless you are a hikikomori. This is the reason why you need to know how to work within a team and to succeed in doing so: how to lead a brainstorming session, how to get the best from every member of the group, how to communicate with the community and the individuals, how to suggest correction with kindness and how to motivate them. It is not relevant which role you embody in the team, because you are going to deal and cooperate with everybody. You can sharpen those skills by reading books, but it is something you learn on your feet in the job, rather than in a library.
The right place to improve it is the real world, in a real office, with an internship. In fact, the sooner you learn how to mix different parts of a common project, how to share problems and manage to solve them, the less you will find it hard to move from University to a real job. You need to adopt a different mental attitude: at work, there are no marks nor professors, but managers and customer satisfaction. In an office you will not find a tutor who is paid to listen to you difficulties, but you will have to face them without one (alone or trying to speak with your boss or colleagues). I know this is not an easy step, but practise is the best stepping-stone. An internship is like a training, a preparation for you future, real job, but with less responsibilities (all the duties and the commitment are, however, the same of a paid job position).
We, as Internship Uk, are able to provide you with a work experience in a range of different fields: translation, marketing, media, IT development, HR, management and much more. Improving your professional and communicative skills in a safe and protected environment, you will learn to deal with different tasks without the stressful fear of being fired! Moreover, you will quickly realise that being competitive is not the only way. Helping your colleagues and receiving advice from them in return is as important as being independent and able to work by yourself. Instead of studying alone in your bedroom (struggling with the desire to burn books), you will be surrounded by students with whom you can exchange energies, ideas, laughs and problems. Join us to improve your employability, your personal development and to live through an inspiring experience.
Stop competing against each other and remember we are all struggling with the same alarm clock every morning!