As a college student, you know internships are important. You know there are many to choose from. So, how will you find the right one for you? How will you become the right person for them? How will your internship springboard you into a fulfilling post-grad career?
Let’s start here…
3 Qualities of a Great Internship
You may have expected “experience” to be first on the list, so why would challenge rank higher? Ask yourself this – wouldn’t the more challenging internships offer you better experience by default? Wouldn’t a future employer be more interested in your history of taking on challenges? The fact is, dealing with challenge is synonymous with meaningful experience. The bigger the challenges the better the experience. Don’t be fooled by that “internship in the fashion industry” where the day-to-day responsibility is to fold t-shirts at the mall, or the glamorous experience interning in Manhattan on Wall Street where the day-to-day responsibility is to pour coffee and staple papers.
“Networking” has become a tired cliche. It causes too many students to think that the execs at the firm will be inviting them to happy hour and to sit in the boardroom. Anything’s possible, but is it probable? Here’s the reality: Executives invest time in executives, not interns. Ask any potential program to show you its leadership capacity – specifically how they help their interns grow professionally. If you’re not learning and growing, ask yourself – is it really an internship or is it just a job?
Yes, money – that thing you need to get through life. If you consider yourself to be a person that adds value, find an opportunity that pays you based on the value that you add. If your heart is in volunteer work, fantastic! However, bills still exist. Spend your college summers earning and saving as much as possible, not accumulating debt.
What can you do to become a great job candidate?