For college students, summer internships are hard to come by…who am I kidding? Any internship is hard to come by, especially one that relates to whatever career you aspire to have in the future.
After countless the hours of searching, interviewing, and crying over your dream internship, becoming a house spouse to a rich doctor becomes more and more appealing.
Even becoming one of those viral video stars like Chewbacca Mom or Dam Daniel seems plausible (you’ll at least get some free swag out of it). But listen, keep those heads high and don’t loose faith!
You’re dream internship will happen when you least expect it. Granted it will probably be unpaid but hey that ‘experience’ everyone is always going on about is…dare I say… priceless.
Even if it isn’t your dream internship, some experience is better than no experience. An internship will teach you skills that you will not be able to find in your average college classroom. Your time at an internship will give you the chance to network with people who have established their careers and give insight on how to establish yours. Along with that, you’ll learn how to do tasks that will benefit you in whatever work that will come down the road.
Trust me. I know what I’m talking about. I recently graduated college. I landed and internship at the last possible minute in my spring semester. I became the head intern at a magazine. Before that, I had no idea I even wanted to work at a magazine. I’m currently working and tackling all my #intern duties. Gotta get that resume candy somehow my friends.
But before I landed my first and only internship during my college career, I had no idea how to pack a box let alone get along at a ‘real job”.
My advice, once you start an internship is to “make the best of the breakroom.”
I know what you’re thinking… “What does that mean, Vanessa?” “How do I do that?”
Well, buckle up kiddos, I’m about to tell ya!
I know better than anyone how hard it is to connect to people when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. But once you snag that internship I’ve been rambling about, it’s important to get to know the people you’re surrounded by for hours on end each time you’re there. From connecting to the people working around you — or telling you what to do—opportunities can arise from putting yourself out there as opposed to keeping your headphones in pretending to not exist.
You know what this is called, its networking, and here is what you can do!
Now I’m not telling you to talk back to your supervisor when they ask you to get a cup of coffee. What I’m telling you to do is talk to not only your coworkers, but everyone. Francesca from the finance department, Frank the FedEx guy, Sarah in sales, Ingrid the (other) intern, or even Carl the CEO. Everyone. Figure out what they like and dislike and see if there is a commonality between yourself and all of them. You never know what could come out of that in the future.
Get the 411
ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS AS YOU CAN. I say this especially if you are given a task that you have no idea how to complete. Nobody will get mad at you for not knowing how to do something. They will get mad at you for totally fu*king something up because you were too scared to ask how to do it properly. And, upon asking questions about the work you are doing, also ask questions about the person you are doing the work for. Even something as simple as asking your boss or fellow associates how their weekend was, it goes a long way. That’s another way to learn about your coworkers and find commonalities as well.
Instead of spending your lunch break eating alone at Chipotle for the third time in a week, bring lunch from home and eat it in that breakroom. Times are tough and we’re all pinching our pennies. Not only will you be saving money but you’ll be hanging out with your coworkers who are eating their PB&Js or turkey sandwiches too.
Get them Digits
A majority of the time, wherever you are working, there is someone there who is closer to your age than you think. Ask them for their number! I’m not telling you to be their best friend, but hey, who knows? If anything else, you’re adding more people who can help you move from one place to another in the future. Just make sure they go into the “DO NOT CALL/TEXT” file of your contact list for when you’ve had one too many shots of tequila.
These are my small tidbits of advice to all of you young professionals out there going out into the world and starting that new internship. Make friends. Connected with the people you are working with. You never know what could come out of it!