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Humor & Satire | Mr. Bouchard’s guide to finding your internship

Columnist

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 15:03

Amongst the village elders, there is a tale as old as Mother Earth. They speak, with lips drawn into small smiles and eyes filled with mist, of an age long ago. An age when springtime represented new life, beauty, love, rejuvenation and general silliness. An age when the end of March brought forth wave upon wave of good cheer, sunny dispositions and fruit hats. An age where it wasn’t necessary to spend Spring Break applying to summer internships in order to have any hope of feeling self-worth or a fair chance at a decently paying job in two years.

Like many of my loyal readers, I too have spent the past several weeks hard at work applying to summer internships. And in the rare instances where my resume and sack of bribery cash haven’t been completely ignored, I’ve been enjoying the privilege of automated soul-crushers telling me that my skills and experience haven’t quite prepared me for the rocket-science-esque positions of “General Assistant” or “Humanoid Intern #54986.” Thankfully, just because I’m a complete failure doesn’t mean that I’ve lost the ability to tell you all how to do what I’m almost tragically incapable of doing myself! Follow my simple tips, and a high-paying internship in [insert city you find least despicable] will be yours!

1. You’re trying too hard.

On the list of things people hate, being respectively approached and flattered by eager, go-getting college students is second only to a marathon repeat viewing sesh of Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked. Look at you, handing out paper copies of your resume, asking your family and colleagues for business connections, contacting Vassar alums…desperate much? Relax, already! Send that resume into cyberspace and let the offers come to you! “Optional cover letter?” More like “guaranteed blank space.” The less potential employers hear from you, the better. Real human contact just gives you the chance to encounter real-life successful people whom you’ve stalked extensively on LinkedIn, get nervous and spew some of your inane liberal arts nonsense. We’ve all been there, answering “Islam is plebeian America’s newest scapegoat!” when we should have just said “I know Java and C++.”

2. There’s a pretty fair chance that you’re not lying enough on your resume.

Listen, I get ’cha. Since we were little tykes, people have been brainwashing us into thinking lying was wrong—people like the media, teachers, fables, age-old proverbs, our parents, wise vagabonds, questionable vagabonds, billboards, every episode of Dragontales and Arthur ever created, and most popsicle sticks. But in reality, businesses expect a certain degree of lying—in fact, if they’re Goldman Sachs or Disney, they’re basically demanding it. Feel free to turn that “Summer Camp Counselor” position into “Mid-Equinox Settlement Chancellor.” Have you ever visited a website? “Experience with Dreamweaver and HTML.” Drew bawdy pictures on Paint? “Bachelor of Arts in graphic design.” What are they gonna do, check your references?

3. Be your own references.

I hope you’re good at accents.

4. Interview aggressively.

I recommend you follow a procedure I like to call “The Reverse Ugly Duckling.” Based on your hyperbolic resume, HR reps will think that you’re a beautiful swan, with accounting certification for wings and six published novels for feathers. But when you show up for the interview, they’ll find themselves trapped in a small office with an ugly duck who has self-hatred for wings and literally no soul for feathers. It’s an established fact that HR wants to hire employees who look like saints on paper, but know how to be ruthless, back-stabbing finks in the business world. Answer any questions they have—even about your own name!—with: “I am not afraid to step on my fellow employees’ necks in order to reach your own; in fact, I welcome it.” That’ll be sure to get their attention.

5. Have a backup plan.

Mine is simple—if I can’t get an internship this summer, I’ll just randomly show up at some office and pretend to work. After establishing myself as a regular by loudly singing the harmony section to several renditions of “Happy Birthdays” and bringing in store-bought cookies every Friday morning, I’ll complain to HR that I haven’t gotten paid in weeks. Thus it begins.  

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