I had a great opportunity to speak with Lauren Berger (aka the Intern Queen) on the phone last week. Lauren started InternQueen.com to help college students connect with employers for internships. The website is a great resource for anyone looking for an internship. You'll find advice, true stories, and listings. Lauren Berger just published her book All Work, No Pay and I think it's a great tool for college students. I actually bought it for Sporty Sister for Valentine's Day :-)
As part of the interview, I asked Lauren to share five things she wished someone had told her before starting the interning process!
(Sound familiar? I feel like so many times people tell you generic advice, but asking what they wished someone had just told them brings out random tidbits that are so useful!)
Here's what Lauren wishes she had known:
1. You can get an internship
No matter what year you are in school and no matter what industry you're interested in, you can find an internship! Just because you're a first year doesn't mean that you can't start building that resume.
Lauren remarked that people might say that "you can't get an internship because you're only a freshman," but you shouldn’t take no for an answer. It’s something you CAN achieve.
A lot of people said that she couldn’t when she was a freshman, and yet... she did!
[Side note: Lauren had FIFTEEN internships over her four years at college.]
2. Apply for more than one opportunity
Lauren highly recommends applying for many internships. Basically, don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
The target number of internships to apply for? Ten per semester!
Why? See Number Three:
3. Rejection is going to happen.
Getting rejected from internships will happen. “Get ready, get over it, and let’s move forward," Lauren says. Rejections might be nice, not so nice, or even downright nasty. It's important to know that rejection will happen so that you're prepared and can move on to the next big thing!
4. Respect your coordinators time!
When you first get your internship don’t swarm the coordinator with emails every other day. The coordinator is likely extremely busy and tons of emails with various questions will overwhelm (if not annoy) her. Lauren says that doing this makes coordinators feel like "you’re only thinking about your point of view” and not considering the other person's time valuable. Not a good way to start off the internship! Don't worry though, you are allowed to have questions. Instead: chill out, take a deep breathe, and send all your questions in one email.
5. Always add value
No matter what you are doing in the office, make sure that you're always adding value to the situation. Constantly think, "How can I make the most of my time and add value to this situation?" Sometimes your time in the office will be slow and you might not have anything specific to do.
It's a myth to think that the only time you're useful is when you’re assigned tasked. Lauren admitted that at her first internship she would sit around reading magazines when there wasn't anything to do.
If you're not sure... Get up and think to yourself and how can I add value. You may want to do some personal research by reading industry publications. Or you can look around the office and help someone else. Whatever it is, make sure you're adding value.
InternQueen.com is giving away a copy of All Work, No Pay to a College Prep reader!
Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below! If it isn't showing up, try clicking on the title of this post and refreshing :-) You have to be on the page of the actual post, as opposed to the homepage www.thecollegeprepster.com. It's a little confusing, but the widget will really help me cut down on time spent typing up entries!