Many college students have caught on that internships are critical to a successful job hunt after college. However, there are a few secrets that allow students to work smart, not hard.
1. It’s about quantity, not longevity. Students who do well in their internships are often asked by employers to return for the following semester or season. While it is intuitive to accept such an appealing offer, I oblige you to reconsider! You’ll find on your job hunt that employers generally don’t care how long you stayed at your internships. For this reason, it’s more valuable that your internship strategy is one of quantity. The benefits of this include getting more experience, being more marketable, expanding your network, and more! Accordingly, consider limiting your internships to one each semester or season.
2. Internships are a branding tool. As a millennial, you probably don’t have much work experience when you graduate college. Nonetheless, I urge you to avoid the temptation to list every single experience you’ve ever had. Your resume is a marketing document; if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. Your internships offer you a powerful file cabinet of options to pull from when you’re applying for jobs. When you apply for something specific, you should pick from your variety of internships and only include those relevant to the position. A confused mind always says no, which is why you want to spell it out for hiring managers. Your resume will stand out in the pile if it is clear and aligned with the position.
3. Networking is even more effective than internships will ever be. In order to be taken seriously when you graduate, you will need internships on your resume. Clients often assume that these internships will lead to jobs; while this does happen, don’t bank on it. The truth is that networking will usually take you farther than your internship ever will. Given that you work during your internship, your bond with your new colleagues is generally quite limited. These bonds are valuable, but the truth is that a couple of cups of coffee with a new contact potentially builds a relationship that is just as potent as the ones you build during your internship. Internships are there for students to get experience; networks are what will land them the job. Networking should always extend beyond the scope of your internship. Keep GOING!