Internships : Get the Experience, Without the Commitment

Career , Internship Sep 09, 2016 No Comments

There’s a lot of pressure these days to get experience before getting a job. 

That’s why many people are seeking out internships rather than applying for full time jobs.  Besides the experience you’ll gain, internships also offer the chance to learn what type of jobs work best for you. 

We sat down with Jamie C, who’s had a couple internships thus far in her college career — one that went really well and another that didn’t go so well.  So what was the difference? 

Jamie said the internship she loved was for a company that took their internship program very seriously.  The company had an established program for their interns that was clearly laid out on their website before she applied.  Jamie said to look out for that.  If a company can clearly define the projects you’ll work on during your internship, you’ll probably have a much better experience.  It means they are more organized internally and value their interns. 

For the internship that didn’t go so well, the company didn’t seem to value her time.  Her manager didn’t have clear projects for her and wasn’t there for support.  Jamie always felt like she was burdening her manager when she had questions, so eventually, she stopped asking them.  By the end of the program, she learned about how the company ran but didn’t feel like she produced quality work.  And that’s important for all of us to feel — that we are delivering important and quality work. 

Jaimie said it can be competitive to get an internship.  There are a ton of people out there looking to gain experience and build up their resumes.  She said she applied to 50 internships online and didn’t get one response back.  So how did she get her gigs?  Jaime went to career fairs on campus and did research ahead of time.  She knew the companies who would be there and learned something about each of them.  That way, when she was talking to recruiters in-person, she was able to show a level of knowledge and interest that set her apart from other candidates.  Jamie highly recommends, if possible, to try and meet companies in-person rather than applying online.  When you send your resume in online, you’re just another email in a recruiter’s inbox.

Jamie learned a ton from the internship she loved.  She had a mentor who she met with every week to discuss her career development.  She learned how to communicate in a professional setting through email and during in-person meetings.  She became a lot better managing her time, understanding how to set task/time expectations.  And she was able to deliver an app that is being used in the real world today!

Jamie is still in college, but you don’t have to be a student to get an internship.  Internships are a great way for anyone to learn a new industry for a few months.  So before committing to a full time job, see if the company and the industry is right for you.  And if it’s a perfect fit, a full time job might just be waiting for you by the time your internship is completed!

Also published on Medium.

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