Post college job success heavily depends on how much work experience a person accumulates while in school. The best way to get ready for your grand job market entrance is having internships in your field of interest. With this being said, there are some pointers that you must know before jumping into the first internship position that is offered.
Just like cars, an intern position can end up being a lemon or a really positive experience. Lemony internships are exactly what they sound like, a sour experience. These are the kind of internships that you will never use as a reference and make you reconsider your field of interest.
An internship quickly goes sour when there are culture clashes between you and the organization. Research the work environment of your potential internship to reduce this potential. If your personality and views do not mesh with the organization’s ideals, you are simply wasting your time. Also, make sure you are comfortable with getting paid or receiving college credits. There is no such thing as an unpaid intern; at the least you need to receive course credit. Secondly, enter the search for an internship with realistic expectations. Know that you are pretty much going to be doing work that nobody else wants to do: filing, faxing, copying, phones, etc.
To keep from becoming solely known as the human coffeemaker rather than an intern, while at your job interview, express that you are interested in continually learning whatever your organization is willing to teach. The beginning stages of an internship will not be glamorous, but only you control whether or not your duties become meaningful.
The biggest mistake that an intern can make is not discussing what they want out of their internship with their boss. If your placement complies and increases your responsibilities, remain a loyal intern. If they don’t, respectfully turn in your two-week’s notice and move onto a position that is willing to let you grow.
With everything that has been said, if you know that you are going to hate the culture and your duties, but cannot pass up the opportunity to work in a prestigious placement, then expect to be secretly miserable until your internship is over. When it is, you will know that you worked hard to have that organization’s name on your resume.
Do not waste your precious college years being stagnant! Even if you have a perfect GPA, the sooner you can begin adding to your resume, the better off you will be after graduation.
Ces’Ari (pronounced Chez-ah-ree) earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, and a M.Ed. from Arizona State University, while simultaneously balancing writing and marriage. Read more about Ces’Ari on her personal blog.