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Everything They Didn’t Tell You About Internships… and What You Should Know

In college, an internship is like your favorite kindergarten field trip. During your trip, you discover how the lessons you’ve learned in the classroom can be paired and applied with skills and professional development. 

But, what I bet you might be feeling right now is a little stressed, definitely unsure, and maybe even a little scared about finding the #PERFECT internship. Well, now you can stop and take a deep breath because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know. 

  1. Your campus has a career center and they want you to visit. It is literally a job for someone on your campus to help you find an internship and/or job. This might sound crazy but these professionals know what they’re talking about and they really want to help. You are not going to know everything when you look for an internship or even start an internship, but your campus career center can make things a little easier. 
  2. Writing a resume and cover letter does not have to be hard. You never want to copy and paste a job description onto your resume and call it a day. Try using a template to guide you through your process. Be authentic and triple-check your grammar and spelling. Resources like writing a stellar cover letter, The Perfect Resume, and Grammarly can help ease your internship preparation.
  3. Interviewing is hard if you don’t practice. Even the most extroverted people struggle with nailing interviews. For some reason when you’re asked “So, tell me about yourself.” everyone looks like a deer in the headlights. There is a formula for this (one second I’m getting to telling you it!) so do yourself a huge favor and write out your answer. This helps you organize your thoughts and shine bright in those headlights. Now the formula to the perfect statement goes: past experiences as it relates to your job + your strengths + a little personality for flair = nailed it.  
  4. It’s never too late to get an internship. This applies to your collegiate timeline as well as age. If you are a career switcher and building your network from scratch, don’t rule out doing an internship. 
  5. Paid v. Nonpaid internships. This is an age-old argument and ultimately comes down to personal preference, but here are my thoughts. Internships should offer compensation. If a company can’t offer to pay you directly you should explore if there is an opportunity for you to receive college credits for it. All jokes aside, interns play a major role in an organization, and in the end, it is a job.

What you should know

  1. Every company is structured differently. You are setting yourself up for success by starting your network early. You’ll gain a plethora of references and if you’re lucky you’ll find a really great mentor. A good mentor is like a good friend. They help you through the good and the bad and can sometimes put things into a different perspective for you. 
  2. It’s okay to make mistakes from time to time, everyone is human. Mistakes are how we learn and you as an intern are there to learn from your trade. 
  3. Quality > Quantity. Both are important and neither is useful without the other. But when it comes to working, the kind of work you put in is generally more important than the amount. 
  4. Before your internship ends assess yourself. What were you able to accomplish? Are you able to show your impact through data? Looking at you comms and marketing majors! Social engagement rates, interactions, audience, published posts, clicks, shares impressions, sample messaging, whatever you can get write it all down. These are gold for your resume. Take out whatever fluff words you might have in there as placeholders and explain your impact. You deserve to shine!
  5. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume. Don’t procrastinate on this or you’ll forget a lot of great things you just did. This is the part where you reflect. What did you learn and did you like your internship? If you didn’t, it's okay. You might have even discovered a new skill or new interest. Share that development on your resume.

Parting Thoughts

Whoa, thought I was about to lose you. Let’s wrap this up, shall we?

During your experience as an intern, you’ll learn about office culture and gain access to understanding organizational structure. First and foremost, you’ll find out if you enjoy that career path. This alone can help guide your career goals. You might find that you love your major but would benefit from taking on a minor. 

So, how many of you are looking forward to that field trip now? Get out there and #crushit. For more information, AND sales and marketing internship opportunities, check out Collegiate Sales Society.