How To Get An Internship That Will Launch Your Career

How To Get An Internship That Will Launch Your Career

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A good internship can be more valuable to your career than a college degree. Bold statement, I know, but it’s the truth. A college degree is simply a credential that  proves you can focus and dedicate yourself to a goal, are able to build a strong network and have diverse interests. Luckily, you can do all of that with a really great internship.

Here is how:

1.   Don’t ever apply to internships.

Every company has internships and all of them suck.

In the past internships were created to help you stand out when applying to jobs after college. Today internships are a bad tactic to help you stand out because everyone has an internship on their resume and the people who hire you know how internships work and it probably won’t help you find a job. On top of that, Internships are generally managed by junior employees giving you very little chance of having access to senior managers that could actually help you further your career.

2.   Find the future you and have lunch with them

Throughout my career, mentors have always told me that I remind them of themselves when they were younger. Why? Because I choose mentors that I want to be “when I grow up” and I build relationships with them so I can learn what I need to do it successfully.

Find someone more senior in their career that has a job you dream of.  Invite them to lunch, ask them about how their career started, share your aspirations and (here is the deal closer) find some way for you to help them on a regular basis. Maybe they need someone to come into the office once a week to file papers? Do it. They need someone to pick up their dry cleaning? Do it. They want help starting a blog? Learn how and then do it.

Why should you take on these menial tasks but not apply for a traditional internship? The experience that person has and the contacts that person can introduce you to are more valuable than having an internship in your work history.

3.   Intern for a blogger

Bloggers are busy and they are always looking for interns and it is really hard to find quality interns because very few intelligent college students are knocking down doors to work with bloggers. (but they should be)

What can interning for a blogger offer you? Access to industry leaders, insights into the worlds of social media, content creation and digital marketing, opportunities to work on interesting projects and work experience that will actually translates to skills you will need in your career.

4. Freelance

You do not need a college degree to freelance.

To become a freelancer, you just need to do good work and then find people who will pay you to do it. Not only is this a great opportunity to make extra money but you have the flexibility to take on projects that are fun but might have too small of a budget to hire a more experienced freelancer.

When I was a junior in college I saw a popular blog announce they were hosting their first ever blogging conference in Las Vegas. I DM’ed the Founder and asked if I could help organize it. She didn’t have a budget so we worked out a commission structure and I sold sponsorships. I ended up making a little over a thousand dollars and getting a fully paid weekend trip to Las Vegas.

5.   Master an industry 

Every industry is changing from publishing to healthcare to roofing. The problem is that senior professionals in those industries don’t have the bandwidth to study what shifts are happening, what trends are popping up and how that will affect their business.

What do college students have plenty of? Time.

Launch a newsletter that aggregates news and trends about that industry and distribute it to companies you want to work for. Make a name for yourself as you are learning about the industry and you will be set for a great career.

I want to hear about your internship experiences. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Any horror stories?

 

Cassie Boorn is a writer, social media specialist, entreprenuer and PR girl who has built digital programs for Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, small businesses and bloggers. You can find her shelling out PR and career advice weekly at AskaPRGirl.com 
Read more: http://www.thegrindstone.com/2012/09/25/career-management/how-to-get-good-internship-167/#ixzz2Kiro9vRx

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Comments

  1. Interesting article. Professor’s are always stressing the importance of internships, but then when I ask my peers what they did while being an intern it was a bunch of errand-boy work or clerical jobs. Taking it into your own hands sounds like a great idea, you may not get paid as much, but it shows alot of determination and skill.

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