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Internship App - "Achievement You're Most Proud Of" None
Old 12-05-2009, 04:56 PM   #1
dmouth11
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I'm applying for an internship to an advertising agency and am being asked to write a short response essay (a few paragraphs) on what accomplishment I'm most proud of and why. I've narrowed it down to two options:

1) A small business I started and ran in high school
2) A time last summer where I would have voluntary crew practice each morning at 5:30, a full time government internship from 9 to 5 and would work at a retail job in the evenings, all simultaneously.

Which one seems more advantageous to elaborate on? I'm a junior in college so talking about HS might not be wise. Although the 2nd choice seems more mundane, i figured I could spin it to highlight my ability to interact with many different kinds of people and also to work long hours.

Please help!!
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:26 PM   #2
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If you did any effective advertising for the small business you ran, I'd go with that one. =) Either way, try to tie it back to what the firm does, and the value you can add to the firm given your past experience. And if you're really good at being terse, there's no reason why you can't touch on both.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:08 PM   #3
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The small business you ran sounds like a winner. Employers love people who are independent go-getters. The fact that you did this in high school is a plus, not a minus. The second just sounds like you can be overworked without cracking.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:32 PM   #4
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As an interviewer, I am always interested to hear that someone has started and ran their own business. That's the one I would go with. If possible, tie it into the position you are applying for. If you did any kind of advertising, sized up your potential market, etc. in your business, I would highlight those areas since you are applying to an advertising firm.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:46 PM   #5
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Yes, go with #1. Lots of people can write about #2. And talk about how your advertised your business, even if it sounds mundane, like word-of-mouth (which actually is an awesome technique if used well).
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:01 AM   #6
astrolite
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Smart up.

What your accomplishment should be is "always being driven" and you can cite all of those items as supporting evidence.

Trust me on this one.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:47 AM   #7
Blse
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  Originally Posted by astrolite
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Smart up.

What your accomplishment should be is "always being driven" and you can cite all of those items as supporting evidence.

Trust me on this one.

I agree; use them both to your advantage. But note that regarding the business make sure to re-assure them that it was legitimate. I'd personally get suspicious if someone told me about a business they ran in high school (trading baseball cards or a bake sale come to mind).

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Old 12-06-2009, 01:17 PM   #8
dmouth11
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It was a student store and lounge. We sold breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, catered lunch sandwiches, soups and snacks.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
Blse
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  Originally Posted by dmouth11
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It was a student store and lounge. We sold breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, catered lunch sandwiches, soups and snacks.

If you ran that, it should count. Just be sure to describe it
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.

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Old 12-06-2009, 01:38 PM   #10
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I'm not sure what you mean by voluntary crew practice?
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:03 PM   #11
dmouth11
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  Originally Posted by Corvineve
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I'm not sure what you mean by voluntary crew practice?

I'm a coxswain on my college rowing team and in order to enhance my skills I would go and practice with a local club in my home city and compete with them in races. It wasn't required by my collegiate coach, but was a way for me to become more competitive and to earn respect.

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Old 12-07-2009, 11:26 AM   #12
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Hope Im not derailing the discussion here, but what about those of us who have nothing worth mentioning as an 'achievement'. For example, working 2 jobs and doing a physical extracurricular is not something I would consider particularly noteworthy. Do employers really care about that? What are they looking for as a response?
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:34 AM   #13
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  Originally Posted by astrolite
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Smart up.

What your accomplishment should be is "always being driven" and you can cite all of those items as supporting evidence.

Trust me on this one.

"Always being driven" isn't an accomplishment, it's a basic expectation. If such a response came to me it would likely land in the "iffy" pile at best. (And yes, I do hire people as part of my job) It's down there with applicants who claim their biggest accomplishment is "overcoming shyness." Don't care.

Turning in a concrete answer with good, obvious links to career ambition is much better than some vague corporate equivalent of a beauty pageant answer that needs to explained in order to be understood. Everyone who applies for this job is going to claim to be "driven."

Don't try to "game the system" with your response. The system has been around longer than you. Starting your own small business is awesome and will cause you to stand out from the other applicants. Go with that one.

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Old 12-12-2009, 02:20 PM   #14
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  Originally Posted by SShack
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"Always being driven" isn't an accomplishment, it's a basic expectation. If such a response came to me it would likely land in the "iffy" pile at best. (And yes, I do hire people as part of my job) It's down there with applicants who claim their biggest accomplishment is "overcoming shyness." Don't care.

Turning in a concrete answer with good, obvious links to career ambition is much better than some vague corporate equivalent of a beauty pageant answer that needs to explained in order to be understood. Everyone who applies for this job is going to claim to be "driven."

Don't try to "game the system" with your response. The system has been around longer than you. Starting your own small business is awesome and will cause you to stand out from the other applicants. Go with that one.

I also hire people as part of my job and I'll second this 100%. SShack is quite correct that everyone will claim to be "driven". The answer is meaningless and will be treated as such when I compare your interview to those who really gave a good answer.

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Old 12-12-2009, 03:07 PM   #15
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I would go with the first one. It's a bigger achievement, AND it happened earlier in your life. That's a double advantage.

  Originally Posted by SShack
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"Always being driven" isn't an accomplishment, it's a basic expectation. If such a response came to me it would likely land in the "iffy" pile at best. (And yes, I do hire people as part of my job) It's down there with applicants who claim their biggest accomplishment is "overcoming shyness." Don't care.

Yeah, and if you ask me it's kind of a ridiculous expectation to "be driven." I'm not driven, but I'm smart enough to do the work, I can follow the rules, and I need the money. You'd think that would be good enough, since that's all the job requires... but unfortunately most people have these crazy personal standards of excellence or something that make them want to hire people who act like the job means everything to them.

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