Oprah and her network OWN are looking for interns — undergraduates and graduate students. The program will last for 10 weeks and not only will it be a college-learning experience, the internships are paid. Though they are in California, it’s a great opportunity for a student to make that next step into their dream gig.
Internships are critical when it comes to creating job opportunities. I was the intern that never left – literally. I went from being an intern to a part-time assistant, to part-time radio personality until a full-time door opened. Now as I continue to grow in this business, I feel like my path has been long but I have learned a lot. And it all started with an internship!
An internship is a remarkable opportunity for students to garner hands-on experience while taking advantage of networking opportunities. The key is, knowing how to use the opportunity correctly. I know a beautiful young lady who interned at the same time as me. In fact, we both worked at the same job and I’m the one who told her about interning at KPRS/KPRT. The problem was she thought she was too pretty for the grunt work and didn’t last beyond two weeks! I knew when I eventually got my foot in the door I would reach back and help another college student in this field – particularly a female.
But I have learned not everyone is open to receiving advice. I recall a potential intern telling me her goal was to get a job where “she could dress cute.” As a woman who has faced some serious sexism and attacks in the industry, I knew right then and there I could never pour into her. Why? First impressions matter. Her thought was she could be so cute and uber- sexy, maybe meet some rappers, and her appearance would make her an ideal candidate for this field. It actually ended up being her downfall. (Pretty can only take you so far and when another pretty chic comes, then what?)
Didn’t mean to get off subject but it is important to make the most out of educational opportunities – including internships. You never know- that internship could open a door in a way you never imagined. Stanford University offers some good strategies for making the most of your internship.
(From “Tips for a Successful Internship” via Career Development Center for Stanford University.)
Communicate Effectively and Often: Know what skills you can offer and meet with your supervisor to discuss ways to utilize your existing skills and gain more skills. Let your supervisor know, in a constructive and positive way, if you feel your skills aren’t being used to their potential
Set Goals: Sit down with your supervisor and go over what you hope to gain from the internship, especially if the internship is somewhat unstructured. Follow up to make sure you are meeting those goals and set new goals if necessary
Observe: Get to know the corporate culture, dress, communication style, and how decisions are made. This will help you avoid saying the wrong thing or overstepping your boundaries
Know Your Role and How You Fit into the Organization: The organization is taking time to teach you new skills, understand what is expected of you and perform competently
Be Flexible: You may have to do some "grunt" work; that’s the trade-off for the skills that you are gaining. Make sure there is a balance between "grunt" work and pre-professional responsibilities, if the balance becomes uneven, discuss with your supervisor how you can better apply your skills in the organization
Be Responsible: Be on time, take your assignments seriousl, and meet your deadlines. Organizations will often hire interns for future full-time positions, and will look closely at your performance and attitude to decide if you are a candidate for a full-time position
Take it All In: Learn as much as you can about the industry and organization by reading what is around you, talking with everyone, and volunteering for extra projects
Network: Talk to as many people as you can. Introduce yourself to everyone. Seek out a mentor who may or may not be your supervisor.
Keep in Contact: Keep in contact with those you have met so when it comes time to look for a full-time job they will remember you.
Those are all some great points to lead you in the right direction. I also want to point out Nikki Turner, a writer for Clutch Magazine. She recently wrapped a successful internship at Essence magazine – which is a major honor. An important aspect some forget is doing the pre-intern work of cleaning up your online image:
Prior to applying for the internship, you should make certain your online profiles are aligned with your future goals. By now we all should know inappropriate photos/videos of oneself on the World Wide Web is a major no, no. You may believe your privacy settings are top-notch, but it is no match for the tech geek who was hired to break down your firewalls. Also, Google yourself approximately three to six months to see what message you are sending to potential employers. If you have a blog ensure it is a dotcom, create a logo, even if it’s a simple emblem with your initials. These meek, but cost-friendly steps show potential employers you are a boss babe who should be taken serious! The little things do matter. (From “How to Successfully Land that Internship” by Nikki Tucker via clutchmagazine.com).
Put your best self forward and do the work. The end result will be worth it! #InternToEmployee