This blog was written by Alison, our campus ambassador from Sarah Lawrence College!
As the demand and popularity of college internships rises, students are increasingly faced with challenging decisions to make when deciding where to intern for the semester. With such strong emphasis being placed on securing competitive internships, it is sometimes difficult to be positive that you are making the best career choices to maximize your professional development. What can be even more puzzling is when false myths about internships are thrown into the decision-making processes. Here are a few internship myths to steer clear from when you are searching for internships or trying to deicide which internship offer to accept.
Myth #1- Always take the paid internship over the unpaid one
Yes, money is tight while you are in college. Between books, groceries, loans and trying to sneak in a little bit of a social life, your wallet can start to look pretty thin. While this is true, taking a paid internship at a company that does not have a strong internship program over an unpaid internship at a company with an accredited internship program can be as destructive as shooting yourself in the foot! Although the unpaid internship is going to be a large expense, the professional experience and exposure that you will gain from a strong internship program is incomparable to a weak program that does pay. This is not to say that all paid internships offer poor experience, but what I am saying is not to base your placement decision just on monetary concerns. Look at the programs that each company is offering; find out whom you will be working with and reporting to and what kind of work you will be doing. Once you know this, choose the option that is offering the most legitimate and challenging work. It is better to be drafting press releases and conducting market research unpaid than fetching coffee for your boss for $7.25 an hour.
Myth #2- Only take an internship that is in the field of you college major
The job market is a hard scene right now and we are all aware of this. When job creation is stagnant one of the most important principles to learn is adaptability. If you are majoring in English, think beyond a publishing or journalism internship. An internship at a public relations firm may expand your skill set even further! This holds true with most college majors. Do not simply limit yourself to searching for an internship in one industry; there are many relevant and beneficial internship opportunities across multiple professional fields.
Myth #3- If you’ve got the internship, so you’ve got the job
Having an optimistic mindset that you want to secure an entry-level job with a company once your internship ends is great! However, feeling that this is a given simply because you were offered the internship is not a productive way to be thinking. Scoring an internship at the company of your dreams is a great first step, but if you want to get the job offer when your ten weeks are up, you need to work your hardest at every opportunity to showcase the great future employee you could be. The internship is your chance to demonstrate your work ethic, authenticity and motivation, but it is not your golden ticket into the company.