Getting ready to start your first internship? This is a big step in your college career, and it’s what will set your resume apart from other applicants when you start your job search after graduation. To help you feel more prepared, we’re sharing some insights on a few things no one tells you about interning.
1. There will be moments when you don’t know what you’re doing.
Starting an internship is intimidating because you desperately want to prove you’re cut out for the position you were hired for, earn some great recommendations and professional contacts, and potentially even land a job offer. But no matter how cut out you are, there will be moments when you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s part of the learning process, so just ask questions rather than feeling discouraged!
2. One internship isn’t enough to give you a feel for your career path.
You’ll definitely learn a great deal at your first internship, but don’t expect to feel completely ready for a full time job after just one swing at interning! Your first internship may be vastly different than your second and even third. This is great because the more internships you take on, the more skills and strategies you’ll learn in your industry. Plus, taking on more internships allows you to learn the areas you want to focus your future career on, and even the type of work environment you thrive best in.
3. They often don’t lead to full time offers.
Ideally, you’d be able to bring your ‘A’ game to your internship, prove you have what it takes to succeed, and then they’d love you so much that they’d secure you a full time position after graduation. It’s a nice thought, right? Unfortunately, it often doesn’t turn out that way—And that doesn’t at all mean you didn’t totally rock your internship. Sometimes companies really just don’t have open positions to fill. Rest assured that you’ll at least take away great experience for your resume.
4. Mistakes are common.
We mentioned earlier that it’s common feeling pressure to perform perfectly. Internships really aren’t all that long, so it feels like you only have a short window of time to prove yourself. You can totally relax, though—Mistakes happen all the time. You weren’t hired under the expectations that you’re a certified expert! Embrace the mistakes as learning opportunities, because that’s what you’re there for at the end of the day.
5. It’s not always coffee runs or meaningless tasks.
Grabbing coffee, sorting mail, updating spreadsheets…These are the tasks we often think of when we envision interning. While these may be part of your responsibilities, don’t expect it to end there. A lot of internships actually do want you to get your hands on some more meaningful projects. If anything, ask to get involved more if you need a bigger challenge.