2 Tips to Landing a Successful Internship
The #1 rule to remember about internships is that they are not created equal. I’ll say it again—NOT all internships are created equal. Some internships are ways for companies to take advantage of free labor, but others are the best way to break into the work force. It is the applicant’s responsibility to understand what they’re volunteering for. Spending time preparing and planning will make the biggest difference in a person’s internship experience.
1. Spend as much time researching an internship as you would a job.
While most people only associate internships with job experience, this is also a perfect opportunity to gain job-searching experience. Practice your resume and cover letter. Make sure to research the company and above all ask questions.
I participated in my first internship through a school program, so provisions were put in place to make sure I had no surprises. My second internship I was on my own, and the interview process was not thorough. I didn’t ask questions of my own. I knew I would be a blog writer, but I didn’t understand my complete responsibilities until I began. This led to frustration and a lackluster experience.
Even if they don’t ask you a lot of questions, make sure to have some of your own prepared. Ask about the responsibilities, resources, daily schedule, and expectations to gauge if the experience will be worth it. If you can, ask to speak with previous interns as well. They aren’t likely to sugar coat a bad experience.
2. Decide what kind of experience you want.
If you are working for free, the only capital you’re getting out of this internship is experience and connections. Make sure you know what kind of experience you want when going through interviews. While initiating your own marketing campaign as an intern may be over reaching, make sure to ask what experience they give the interns. Or decide if making connections is your most important goal, ask about the networking opportunities or people you would be working closely with.
Not everything will be based off future employment at that company. My first internship I only worked with an editing department of 3 people. I had virtually no chance for an employment opportunity, but the experience I gained is directly responsible for the job I am working now.
Everyone will be expected to perform office duties—especially in a small office. I was in charge of mail along with my other responsibilities. Don’t turn down an internship opportunity because of these menial tasks, just make sure that isn’t the only task they will have you do.
Have you had similar experiences? Or do you have suggestions about how to find an internship that works for you?
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