For many college students, the summer after junior year is all about “the internship.” It is the chance to dive into the professional world for a summer, test out potential career paths, network, and begin the process of deciding what you want to do after graduation.
I, like many of my peers interested in a career in business, had heard the tales of hard work involved in completing these internships. I knew I would have to put in long days and potentially venture to a new city in search of opportunity. I knew I would be replacing blue jeans and t-shirts for business attire and the chance to be an intern superstar in a suite. I knew I was ready.
What I didn’t know was how hard it would be to secure said internship. It isn’t enough to simply decide you want to an internship, there is a long and difficult process involved in convincing companies they want for you for their internship. This is a process that must be completed over and over again. The search for an internship is a battle, and when I came out on the other side of this battle I not only had an internship, I had also learned three important life lessons:
1. Use all of your resources: When you apply for an internship you must find internships to apply to, write resumes and cover letters, revise these documents, and prepare for interviews. There are most likely people who have done this before and know how to do it better than you can, and lucky for you, most of these people are willing to help if you just ask them. When I applied for my internships I made sure to take advantage of all my Duke resources such as eRecruiting, the Career Center, Career Fairs, and faculty mentors. I also ventured outside of my Duke resources. As a member of the Management Leadership for Tomorrow ( MLT) program, I had access to coaches willing to revise my resumes and cover letters and forward me jobs specifically for MLT fellows. I took advantage of all of these resources. I’m not too proud to ask for help!
2) Do not get discouraged: It’s easy to tell other people “you win some, you lose some,” but when you get that first rejection letter you begin to worry about possibly losing them all. Don’t give up! Sometimes you will get cut before the first interview, other times you will make it to the third round and still not get the job. It happens, but if they hired someone else that’s one less person applying for the next job you’re applying to. So keep moving forward until you get land the perfect internship .
3) Be Flexible: There are a variety of internships in all different fields. Halfway through your search you might find an internship you didn’t even know existed, and it might be perfect for you but completely different from anything you had previously applied to. Apply! You also might find your perfect internship in a city or state you had no desire to be in. Be flexible.
The fight for an internship will take time but in the end it will all be worth it. Now that I’m on the other side of the battle, I am happily enjoying my summer as a marketing intern for the fitness startup Rubberbanditz. I get to head two new marketing initiatives for the company, wear jeans to work, and workout with the fitness bands I’m marketing. I couldn’t ask for more!
What are y’all up to this summer? How did you secure your first internship? Comment and share!
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