This blog post was written by Alexis Reliford, our Campus Ambassador from Northwestern State University.
While most students know that internships can be great résumé boosters and helpful in establishing career connections, some still shy away. Movies and TV shows have painted interns to be people who aren’t as important at companies and get stuck doing the grunt work at their boss’s beck and call. Are some intern horror stories true? Yes, but overall what we here about internships couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Here’s the truth behind five well-known internship myths.
Myth 1: You'll be fetching coffee all day long.
Although you may do some administrative tasks, many companies hire interns to work on actual projects alongside full-time staff. Rather than just sorting mail, making copies or answering phones, interns usually complete entry-level job assignments. So unless you’re interning at Starbucks, no coffee fetching for you.
Myth 2: Companies could care less about their interns.
Often interns play a major role within a company and the higher ups value their interns’ opinions and perspectives. I mean who wouldn’t appreciate someone who makes his or her job a little bit easier? Rest assured that even though you’re an intern, your work will be taken seriously, so give it your all.
Myth 3: The best internships are at well-known companies.
Sure everyone wants to intern for MTV or with Hearst Corporations, but experience at smaller companies is just as valuable. Most of the time at smaller companies you have more responsibilities and more opportunities to be hands-on, than you might have if you were somewhere bigger. This is the perfect way to shine big! Internships at smaller companies may not pack the same résumé punch as larger ones, but it’s about what you DO at your internship, not where you do it at.
Myth 5: You should only do internships in the field you want to pursue.
Even though interning at a magazine is great when you want to be journalist, sometimes that’s just not possible. Rather than giving up on getting any experience, look for opportunities outside your industry that provide similar experiences. For an aspiring journalist, internships at PR agencies and at communications and marketing firms are just a few places you can improve your writing and speaking skills. You’ll also show potential employers your ability to work in diverse fields that require a wide range of skills. Plus sometimes the best way to find out what you really want to do is by doing something you don’t want to do.
Myth 6: Getting an internship at a company guarantees you a full-time job.
Ahh, after four (and maybe more years!) of college, slaving over books and internships, wouldn’t it be great if us interns got hired on the spot? Definitely! But, that’s not always possible. Most companies just don’t have full time positions available. It’s heart breaking, but that doesn’t mean you should give any less than your best. Show up on time, ask questions, do what your employers ask you to, without complaining and with a smile, and MAYBE you’ll be offered a full-time position afterwards. Just don’t count that paycheck before it’s written.