*The following blog is written by Collin Smith, Elevate’s Creative Design Intern. Follow along as he shares three essential tips for future interns.
Intern to Intern: What I Wish I Was Told
For me and so many other college students and young adults who are looking into the future with mixed feelings of excitement and uncertainty, there seems to be an overwhelming pressure that’s added when it comes to looking for a job or internship.
Should I go for a small start-up or a nationwide corporation? Should the job go along with what I studied in school even if it’s not exciting to me?
The story I often told myself when looking for internships was this,
“If I want to have the dream job, the great career, the perfect situation where work is the intersection of my skills and my passions, then I have to do one thing. I have to land the perfect internship.”
I had told myself that the rest of my life was hinging on what job I would have for a summer or a semester.
There are an overwhelming amount of resources available to college students that seem to have the answer to all of the questions. Company websites, campus seminars, professionalism courses and so many other places offer their tips and tricks to help you perfect your resume and land that dream position. All of these offerings are helpful, but there are a few things that the campus career centers did not offer that I wish I would have been told while I was still on the hunt for the right gig.
Your endless choices aren’t traps, they’re opportunities. I wish that I would not have been so worried about making the right or wrong decision about where to apply and instead just went for what I was passionate about because that is what payed off in the end. Instead of looking at all of the options as a set of anxious choices, look at them as fortunate opportunities! There are so many different types of organizations whose doors are open for you to walk in. When wondering about which door to walk through, don’t stress about choosing the right one. Just try a few handles and see which ones are unlocked.
What do I have to offer these business professionals? What have I done that they would need me? I was so concerned with making sure my resume font size was correct that I was a little thrown off when I was asked about my experience as a camp counselor or the time I had spent outside of class helping my parents start their restaurant. We all have unique skills and experiences that we can use to add value no matter the context. Instead of being concerned if you know Excel as well a the next applicant, focus on what you know that makes you stand out from the crowd. You have something that someone needs. Find out what it is, and boldly enter those interviews with the confidence that you have something to bring to the table.
What do you do that makes you you? Is it the way you speak? A certain passion that you have? Do not mistake professionalism for being inauthentic. Iron your shirt and print your resume on that fancy paper, but also remember, there’s an essence you bring that is lost when you try to fit the mold of the perfect candidate. I was so worried when the internships I was applying for did not look like the ones my friends in other majors were applying for. Looking back, I realize that what I am doing now is a better fit for my passions, goals, and interests than something that one of my friends is doing. Remember, there is no perfect candidate. The best thing you can do is be you.
Do everything with excellence, especially when preparing for the next gig. But remember, you have something in you that no one else does, so go forth in confidence when trying to find that job or internship. Be professional, be open, and most importantly be you.