As a person who has worked in internships related to marine biology, and someone who now reviews applications, interviews and hires interns, I've learned some tips and tricks that might help you land a marine biology internship at the organization of your choice.
From applying for the internship to following-up with your interviewer, following these steps will put you in the running. As for your enthusiasm and qualifications, those are up to you. Good luck and let me know if you have any feedback!
1. Applying for the Internship
Marine biology is a competitive field and you are often up against many other stellar applicants. Don't let that discourage you, though.
When putting your application together, follow instructions exactly and pay attention to detail. Be honest and thoughtful in your answers. Review the organization's web site beforehand to know what qualifications they're looking for and use those to highlight your relevant skills. Write a stellar resume and cover letter. Proofread your application twice before submitting it.
2. Application Follow-upFollow-up to make sure your application was received, either by phone or email (unless the application specifically says not to.) If you speak with someone at the organization, ask one or two relevant questions that show that you're interested in the position and you've researched the organization. In a smaller organization, particularly, this extra phone call or email will help you stand out come application review time. Just don't ask questions whose answers are readily found in the organization's materials, as this will make you look unprepared.
3. Types of Interviews
Many marine biology internship applicants hail from far and wide, making it difficult for an in-person interview. Hence, some organizations will offer a phone interview. Wherever possible, make the effort to meet for an in-person interview.
Scheduling an in-person interview has several benefits: you'll show that you're interested enough in the position to make the effort to visit the organization, plus, you'll get to check out the place where you'll be working and the area you'll be living in if you're lucky enough to get accepted. You might also find that you don't like the area at all and it's not the right fit for you.
4. Interview PreparationYou've landed the interview... now what? It's so important to research the organization as thoroughly as you can before the interview. Pore over their website, do an Internet search and read press materials about them. Review typical job interview questions and answers.You'll be able to intelligently answer the interviewer's questions and also hopefully come up with some great questions of your own.
5. Dress Nicer Than You Think You ShouldSure, your vision of a marine biology internship doesn't necessarily involve you dressed in a business suit. You should still dress for the professional experience that an interview is, which shows that you take the work seriously. That means get out that shirt and tie, or skirt/pants and blouse. It's another thing that will make you stand out when the reviewers are determining who gets the coveted position.
6. Ask Questions at the Interview
Applicants are often too nervous, or unprepared, to ask questions about the position. To an interviewer, you'll likely just appear disinterested. Put yourself in the interviewer's shoes and compare an applicant who simply answers all the interview questions, to one who enthusiastically answers questions and engages the interviewer in a discussion about different aspects of the position and clearly wants to know more about the organization.
You'll likely be working closely with your interviewer, especially in a small organization. Ask how long they've worked there, what they like and don't like about their job, and about the organization's current and future work.
7. Is There Anything Else You'd Like to Tell Me?
The dreaded question..."Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about yourself?", also known as "Anything else we should know?" or "Do you have any other questions?"
When the interviewer asks that question...say something - anything! This is your chance to make a last - and lasting - impression. Highlight your best qualities or if all else fails, simply say, "Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I'm really interested in this position and would love the opportunity to work with you."