If you’re in college or grad-school (or you know someone who is), the time to apply for summer internships is right now. I know, February seems so early, but the internship game is competitive these days. But first, let’s address the nay-sayers:
“I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet!” Surely you have some ideas floating around in that noggin of yours. Pick one of those possible life paths you’re vacillating between and explore it for one summer. What better way to learn whether or not you want to do something than immersing yourself.
“No one will want me for an internship! I don’t have any skills!” That’s what internships are for. There are plenty of fabulous unpaid internships that are rich in growth opportunities. And if you end up being an all-star intern, you may end up with a job offer from there one day.
“I just want to have fun this summer.” Me too. I can’t blame you for that. Just remember that you can’t do that every summer and internships can help put your resume at the top of the pile in the future when you’re ready to find a full-time job after graduation. When you’re on the job market, you’ll want a competitive edge.
I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to intern for some great people/companies. One summer I did an internship at the United Way of Atlanta. Another summer, I did an internship at Turknett Leadership Group, a full-service talent management consultancy here in Atlanta, that turned into a great gig that lasted through the end of college, the 8 months between college and grad school, and one summer during grad school! I was lucky because every single person I had the opportunity to work with during my internships was incredible people, in addition to being great professionally. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had or the relationships I built from those internships for the world.
I’m a big believer in the value of internships. Not only because they give you something to put on your resume other than that time when you were the assistant manager at a lunar mini golf park at the local outlet mall during your high school years – which is cool, too. Internships help you figure out whether or not you actually enjoy doing what you’re spending all your time/money learning about. Internships are also a great place to find a mentor(s). Not to mention, they teach you how to work in an office.