“One goes through school, college, medical school and one’s internship learning little or nothing about goodness but a good deal about success.” – Ashley Montagu
I love internships. I’ve been an intern 5 times and now mentor a wonderful intern staff at my company, Come Recommended. Internships are extremely helpful for students and inexperienced professionals hoping to get that extra edge in a competitive job market.
In my newest book, Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle, I examine today’s American internships with the hopes of igniting action in order to improve internships for the good of interns and companies alike.
In my time as a career coach and intern mentor, I’ve been amazed by the variety of opinions people have about internships in general. In light of recent controversies, it’s become abundantly clear that we need to find some middle ground.
When interns feel closed in by facts that are simply not true, it leaves them helpless within the system. In an effort to empower interns, it is necessary to dispel certain rumors and myths.
Here are 5 internship myths we shouldn’t believe:
You need to be a perfect intern to get hired.
Have you ever seen a job posting and think, “there’s no way they’d hire me”? Well, you definitely wouldn’t get the job if you don’t apply! Companies hire interns with the understanding that they are inexperienced and might make a few mistakes down the road.
Only college seniors intern.
You are never too young (or old) to be an intern! Today’s job market is tough and sometimes an internship is your best bet. Companies hire interns who are willing to work hard and learn, regardless of age.
You only need one.
The more internships, the better. Not only will extra internships fill up your resume, but you will gain even more experience and develop your own unique perspective of the industry. (On the other end of the spectrum, there’s no need to go crazy and complete 15 internships.)
I’m not going to do anything in my internship.
We are all familiar with the stereotypical intern constantly runs back and forth, getting coffee and making copies. While some companies do abuse their interns, many offer educational and productive programs. Interns at smaller companies in particular can expect to take on larger and more influential tasks.
Your internship will definitely hire you.
Just because you got the internship doesn’t mean you’re set for life. Your internship will end and the company might not have room to hire someone new. Work on your professional network and job searching strategies throughout your internship. You never know what could come along.
What other internship myths do you refuse to believe?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
Good luck in your search.
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