Amy is Not Just an Intern . . . She’s a Valued Member of Our Team
We don’t typically give up space for someone else, but we feel our new intern, Amy Poague, has something important to say to recent college graduates. It is really worth your time. Happy summer!
In the beginning of my college years, my peers and professors were constantly pushing me to do an internship. My friends would rave about their roles, pointing out opportunities all over my campus at West Virginia University. Eventually I gave in, but not without wondering, “why the H#LL would I work for peanuts or even worse, work for free?!”
Well, I will tell you why.
First of all, the “intern world” is changing, and there is now even more potential for knowledge and opportunity. For example, you no longer need to worry about making copies, getting coffee, or doing all of the things you didn’t picture yourself doing as a professional. Before you get too excited, let me explain. Yes, you will be doing all of those things, but you will end up doing them to advance your own work. In fact, that’s the way offices work today – gone are the secretaries and assistants! Professionals do their own administrative work and, by the way, they make the coffee too.
So now that I’ve busted myth #1, let’s get down to business. Here are three ways you can become a standout candidate for hire, not JUST an intern.
Become a sponge.
Focus on learning absolutely everything you can from every person, task and interaction you may have. Observation and learning is key in developing your knowledge and gaining experience. With a better understanding of every single aspect of your surroundings, you can not only complete tasks more efficiently, but also acquire skills that will later be used to your advantage. Your attention to detail will not go unnoticed, and it will allow you to develop a better understanding of the ins and outs of any field. As an intern, you have the opportunity to see, hear, and participate in a professional environment that many others may never have the chance to experience.
Retain the gain.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. After your internship is over, be sure to remember and reflect on your experience. Focus on what skills you have developed or improved on; your self-evaluation and improvement are attractive to employers and show you have potential for growth as a new hire. With new experience comes new knowledge, and if it is forgotten then what was the purpose? Just because you may not be looking for a job in the same field as your internship, doesn’t mean it is not valuable. Perhaps you worked as an office assistant, well, you have probably increased your ability to prioritize or work in a high-stress environment, which is valuable to any employer. You are now no longer intimidated by interaction with established professionals. Look them in the eye, and give them a firm handshake. That’s a customer service professional in the making.
Talk to people.
As an intern, you have exposure to professionals who will remember you, or perhaps not. If you do not give others a chance to interact with you and to take you seriously, you will just be the intern. Allow others to become familiar with your career goals, aspirations and interests. Networking is a powerful tool, and employment opportunities thrive from human interaction. You never know who knows whom, or who may be listening. Expose your goals and positive qualities, because internships often lead to permanent positions – if they know you are looking for one. For example, you may have little interest in becoming an attorney, however the attorney you are interning for could be neighbors with someone who owns an advertising firm…and he just might be happy to pass your resume along.
So, while it may seem like you could be better spending your time, concentrate on developing your skills, and becoming the ideal candidate to your future employer. As an emerging young professional, those around you are not hoping you will fail – they want you to knock one out of the park on their behalf. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn, because one day it WILL pay off in more ways than one, and always remember… you are not JUST an intern.
NOTE: Isn’t she great? We are glad to have her on our team for the summer. If you are looking for an ambitious, dynamic addition to your marketing team in the fall, please use our contact form and we’d be happy to put you in contact with a very talented recent graduate.