No two internships are created equal. As a result, there are no set standards, rules, guidelines, expectations, or job responsibilities. This leaves a lot of room for false assumptions and tall-tales.
However, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear when it comes to internships. There are a lot of myths floating around.
Myth #1: You’ll spend your entire day making coffee.
Sure, you might spend some of your time doing administrative tasks – especially for the first few days. While it may seem a waste of time to sort mail, make copies and answer the phone, you are actually gathering valuable knowledge about the company.
And, have no fear. Those menial tasks probably won’t last long. Most companies hire interns to work on special projects. Or, if an intern isn’t assigned his or her own project, the intern is likely to help a full-time employee with a task that has already been divvied out.
For the most part, you can expect to work on entry-level assignments that are commonly distributed to full-time employees.
Myth #2: The best internships are with high profile companies
You have just as good a chance of landing an outstanding internship with an organization you’ve never heard of before as you do for a world-renowned company.
In fact, an internship with a smaller, lesser-known company might be better than a high-profile gig. In a smaller company, you’re almost guaranteed more hands on experiences. Plus, you have the chance to learn about all the departments, not just the one you are working in.
A smaller organization might not look as prestigious on your resume. But in the end, it is all about the work you do; not where you do it.
Myth #3: You can have a summer job or an internship – not both.
Everyone knows it is impossible to live without money. Usually, an internship coordinator will understand the fact you need income in addition to experience. This is especially true if the internship provides little or no salary.
Look for a part-time job to accompany your internship. Yes, you’ll have to work hard. But if it means putting food on the table why developing your future career, it will be worth it, right?
Myth #4: Only accept internships in the career field you want to pursue later.
An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door. You can really influence your future career. Finding the perfect internship in the field you want is ideal. However, it isn’t always feasible.
Instead of giving up on the idea of an internship entirely, look for something in a different, yet related industry. For example, a journalism student could benefit from a job in marketing, communications, or public relations.
Down the road, you’ll be able to show you have a wide range of skills and can work in a variety of environments. Plus, you’ll get a better idea of the career you actually want to have some day.
As your internship start date draws near, don’t believe the myths that are floating around. Each internship is different. Don’t assume it is going to be worse than it actually is!
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