This is a guest blog written by a former Intrepid intern outlining their personal experiences with internships. After completing three internships, they've found success conducting research for various clients and communication campaigns and leading social media accounts for both B2B and B2C businesses.
Nowadays, a degree is simply not enough to land the job. As if competition wasn’t already fierce, the digital age is making it even harder to stand out amongst all the tech-savvy, well-educated people out there. So, when applying for the job of your dreams, you need all the help you can get to prevent a prospective employer from looking at your resume and pushing delete because five of the 30 other applicants “look better” on paper. The best way to do this is by letting your real-world experience do the talking for you, and the best way to gain real-world experience is through an internship.
Internships really are the new interview. In fact, internships are so important that colleges and universities have started requiring internship experience before graduation. As an intern, you’re offering employers the opportunity to learn about your work ethic, determine credibility and assess your ability to apply textbook knowledge in the work place. Even if you don’t see yourself staying with a company, giving 100 percent effort will help lend valuable experience for resume building.
When applying for an internship, think about your end goal. If you know exactly what kind of experience you want to gain, do not accept just any internship. Ensure that the experience you expect to take away will be applicable to your future desired position. However, don’t limit yourself to any one area of expertise. More diversity in your experience is a bonus, if you can make an argument for how it makes you a better employee in your field. Every previously attained skill is one less item an employer will have to spend resources on when training new employees.
Now, if you don’t know exactly where you want to go, don’t get down on yourself. Internships are the perfect way to find yourself, while still gaining valuable experience you can take with you when you figure out where you want to go. The best part is you may find yourself on a path you never anticipated but find you truly enjoy. Internships opened a world of unexplored opportunities to me. While earning my degree, I never expected to end up doing research and social media for a living but I love it! The funny part is that research was my least favorite requirement in school and now, I find myself doing it in my spare time.
Use your internship to prove yourself as an employee and to discover new passions. Allow unexpected opportunities, and maybe even the occasional unwanted requirement, to shape your experience in a positive way. You will take from every opportunity what you make of it.