The Ultimate Guide: How to talk about your CWP internship in a future interview Part 1: For Interns


In a perfect world, job interviewing would come naturally. We would effortlessly be able to communicate all of our career experience without much hesitation. It would just, well, be easy.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world that requires us to challenge ourselves and put our best foot forward. The way we highlight the career experiences we have within the four walls of an interview is often how we make or break landing a job. It foreshadows where our career is headed.

Luckily, College Works Painting interns have an advantage in real-world work experience. By learning the essentials of successful management, exceptional customer service and responsible leadership, each College Works intern gains the skills necessary to build a competitive resume.

Although the skills gained from the College Works internship look great on a resume, it’s not always as easy to communicate those skills during an interview. In order for a CWP intern to translate their business success in an interview it takes some serious confidence to communicate at the level the interviewer is expecting.

So, I got with Matthew Stewart, College Works Painting’s co-founder and CEO, to break down how an intern who has done our internship program can best showcase their experience in a prestigious interview.

To help maximize the CWP experience in a future job interview, Stewart offers the following 4 tips:

Highlight challenges and accomplishments equally

“Start by sharing individual challenges faced during the internship, and what was learned from them. Then use those specific examples to tailor to the job you’re applying for,” said Stewart.

Stewart explained how being able to talk about challenges in a job interview is huge. For College Works interns it’s important to talk about the challenges of maintaining marketing and sales while simultaneously spending time on production and customer service. The purpose is to highlight the value and development of being able to multitask and shift between all areas of the business.

When it comes to highlighting your accomplishments, Stewart stressed the importance of interns talking about all the various aspects of running a business. Stewart suggested showcasing how you were able to run a high level of business by being diligent in planning, projecting and tracking how the business is running from start to finish.

“Developing the skills of interpersonal relationships through client and employee interactions is essential, because this is not a skill that all college students have,” said Stewart.

Give specific examples

Stewart emphasized how hearing specific examples of leadership experience would not only strike his attention in an interview, it would also surprise him to see that a college student was taking initiative and gaining this type of career experience prior to graduation.

He explained that if he was interviewing a College Works intern, he would be impressed if the interviewee shifted between these three points and gave specific examples for each:

  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Organizational skills
  • Self-management

Since not all college students embark in internship programs like College Works Painting, those that do should take the opportunity to shine amongst other candidates. By fine tuning how you talk about your College Works experience, you have leverage in the interviewing process.

Speak the same language as your resume

Job seekers spend a lot of time carefully selecting each word written on their resume. Yet, the same amount of care and attention to word choice is seldom considered during the interview. It is just as essential for an interviewee to use the same language during an interview that is used on the resume.

Strong verbs that demonstrate measurable accomplishments and skills that have been mastered during an internship or previous job show an employer that you are a candidate who’s capable of following through and delivering results.

Talking to Stewart, I learned that CWP interns can specifically highlight these two key words to really stand out in an interview: competence and confidence.

By highlighting the word competence in an interview, a College Works intern is showing the interviewer that they are the ideal candidate who has the ability to get the job done efficiently. By demonstrating how you successfully managed and ran your own business for a summer you are proving to an employer that you have high quality experience in management and are able to deliver successful execution.

By highlighting the word confidence in an interview, a CWP intern is showing the interviewer that they are confident in the results they have driven, as well as confident in taking on new challenges.

Treat finding a job like a job

“In order to succeed at finding the right job, you have to treat finding a job as a job,” said Stewart. “By treating the job search like a job, you are more likely to take it seriously.”

Stewart emphasized that CWP interns should be just as proactive in their job search while they are doing the internship as when they complete the internship. This is to say that while interning at CWP, you should be mindful of all of the skills you’re gaining and how you’re going to use these skills to propel your career.

Taking that extra step will not only help you shine during your CWP internship, it will also benefit you with your job search post-graduation.

Stewart suggested six different ways a CWP intern can prepare for a future job like it’s a job:

  1. Spend time resume building
  2. Spend time gathering client manuals
  3. Spend time gathering cover sheets
  4. Spend time documenting your success
  5. Send out multiple resumes a week, not just one
  6. Go on lots of interviews before you accept the right job offer

By practicing a little bit of all four of Stewart’s tips, the future interviewing process for a CWP intern shouldn’t be so intimidating. Taking the right steps in the right direction while in college and in an internship is crucial for future success.

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