By Emily Browder
Before day one of your first internship, did you envision yourself as Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada?” I.e. fetching coffee, endlessly making copies, filing papers and reporting to a demanding, outrageous boss? Well, in reality I hope that none of you will ever have an experience like that!
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, behind communication skills, internships are ranked as the second most important quality employers look for in potential candidates. In a communications field, that means internship experience is an important component in securing a job.
As the internship coordinator at RLF, what’s my advice to you based on this fact? Make yourself more marketable in a tough economy by landing several internships prior to graduation. This proves that you have initiative, builds and boosts your portfolio, provides valuable references for the future and gives you much needed interviewing experience. Not to mention, by having several internships you will have a better feel for your job interests/abilities and be better prepared to make an informed decision about your future career path.
Below are some tips for current interns and students seeking internships.
Tips for current interns:
1. Proactivity. Think of ways to make your supervisor’s life easier. Whether it is raising your hand to volunteer for a task or thinking one step ahead, a proactive intern will be appreciated (and remembered).
2. Engagement. If the goal of your internship is to learn and gain real world experience, be engaged and ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to learn about the industry.
3. Resourcefulness. While asking questions is important, try to find the answer yourself first. Look at previous, similar work to gauge a template or trend.
4. Proof everything. Proof everything, again. Think about the assignments in your internship as an assignment for school. Turn in only A+ work because you never know if your internship could turn into a job offer (or at least serve as a reference).
Tips for finding an internship:
1. Network. Network. Network. People often say, “It is all about who you know” and, well, they are usually right. Personal or professional connections can help put you in touch with the right person within a company and lead to a job offer.
2. Career center. I am a huge advocate of working with the career counselors/career service center at your college or university and sharing your career goals with your professors. They have inside experience that can be extremely valuable when it comes to getting you connected with the right people in your desired industry.
3. Google. Research the career pages of company websites in the area you hope to work. Most companies will have an email address where you can inquire about employment opportunities or submit a resume online.
4. Social media. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are good resources for finding potential employment options or information about companies of interest. For example: RLF posts on Facebook and Twitter every semester when we start interviewing interns.
Over the past few years, college graduates have been faced with a dismal job market after graduation. The ever-so-competitive work environment leaves many college graduates accepting internships, instead of full-time positions, after walking across the stage. The reality is that internships are extremely beneficial on a variety of levels. Besides a new standard in job market demands, internships can help solidify the direction for your career. In my opinion, it is never too early to start gaining internship experience and I promise you can never have too many, either.
At RLF, we are proud to offer a fulfilling and versatile internship program with outstanding compensation. We offer spring, summer and fall internships with 10 to 12 interns per year.
Please feel free to send your resume and writing samples to me if you are interested in applying for a summer position – firstname.lastname@example.org.