By Alexis Rodriguez > English > Junior > Cornell University
It’s the 21st century (in case you haven’t noticed) and while we are soon expecting the iPhone 78937 and flying cars, the daunting fact remains that the job market is exceptionally bleak for college grads. Long gone are the days where you could wave that piece of paper (proof that yes, you did do it) under any employers’ nose and VOILA! A job opportunity lands in your lap.
Such sad times we live in. That’s why it is so important to go above and beyond and make the most of absolutely every opportunity you get.
Let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones who already have an internship secured for this summer. First, I envyyou. Second, now what? You’re probably feeling pretty safe and the temptation to rest on your laurels is creeping in. Don’t do it. Yes you may have your summer plans figured out but competition never sleeps. Less and less companies are offering interns promises of full-fledged entry positions upon graduation. You have to fight for it and it’s every intern for his/herself.
It’s time you sit down and start thinking about what success means to you. Do a little soul searching. How do you think you can make the most of your internship and show your boss that you’re no joke? You come to play hard.
I’ve talked to a few professionals who have been in the game long enough to have written a few rules themselves. One of the biggest pieces of advice that came up a lot was dedication. Most internships have set hours and even a minimum number of days required. You can stick to the minimum and fly through the summer or you could be that intern who’s always there; the first one in the office in the morning and the last one to leave at night. Let’s be real. Most employers see more interns in their professional life times than they can shake a stick at. They aren’t going to remember every face. However, if they see someone sacrificing precious summer time to finish a project or help with a team effort that’s not even their own you can bet your bottom dollar the name and face are going to be burned into memory.
A professor at Cornell who used to be a big time editor at a fashion magazine told me of one of the FEW interns who ended up landing a job as an assistant editor. How? One of the things she used to do while she was an intern (as nerdy as it sounds) was walking around with a pad and pen taking notes. She picked up the ins and outs of the biz a lot more quickly than her ‘adversaries’ that way.
Just because you landed a super awesome summer job/internship that’s no reason to merely sit back and enjoy the ride. Always be the one asking questions and offering help with anything and everything you can possibly find. Stay late and if you’re only required to work three days, work all five. Take notes if need be. Stay perceptive at all times and pick up on every little thing that goes on around you. Request a meeting with the (wo)man in charge so they can put a personality to a face. It’s not their job to know all their interns – it’s YOUR job to make sure they know you. Show your boss/employer you don’t mess around and that you’re serious about pursuing a career after college. After all, you’re going to need some way to pay all those loans.