Top three tips for interns: 1. Take the path of least resistance

Posted on 9/16/2013 by Lydia Baehr Public Relations in Internships Students Career Advice

Joining the working world can be overwhelming. The news has been filled with stories about the dismal employment outlook for young graduates since 2008. It’s tempting to run away and join the circus, but lion taming isn’t an easy skill to master. What is a soon-to-be graduate saddled with student loans to do? Our first tip from a former intern turned full-time employee, “Take the path of least resistance,” will help give direction to your search.

This series explores three top tips to find your dream internship and turn it into a job offer. Stay tuned to the LBPR Blog for two more tips over the coming weeks.

The first tip involves hunting down your dream internship and following through on delivering what you’ve promised in your interview. The stress of entering the work world can be challenging, but I encourage you to take the path of least resistance...

Take the path of least resistance

Before I landed an internship with Lydia Baehr Public Relations, I wrote down a list of skills and talents that I could trade for money.  I wrote down both the things that I was good at doing with minimal effort and things that I enjoyed doing.

Your ideal internship will use skills from both categories – you need to give value to your employer and to get value out of the internship.  Anything else will make you miserable as you struggle with tasks you aren’t suited for or that you don’t enjoy.  Leaving work feeling like you accomplished and often excelled at your tasks gives you necessary energy to build more difficult skills that you enjoy but are not naturally suited for.

It is important to pay attention to your own intuition and happiness. First, choose to do something that you love, will be paid for and will gain connections and experience through.

If you cannot have all three of these factors in an internship, choose the one where you will gain connections and experience.  Having a reputation for doing good work and people to call is important for your long-term career goals. 

If you are cash-strapped, there is no shame in settling for economic security. Being able to take care of yourself creates room in your life to grow. The less stress you have in your life the easier it is to get up and go to work.  If you take this path, it is important that you find opportunities outside of your internship or part-time job to build connections and knowledge so that you can find a job in your chosen field when you graduate.

If you are still in school, it is important to manage how many hours you work and your course load. Working as an intern might mean taking one less credit hour that semester. You will gain valuable work experience, instead. You should also try to claim college credit for your internship – most schools will let you claim credit hours for the hours you spend learning on the job. The lack of experience is a bigger résumé flaw than graduating a semester or two late. It is important to gain real-world work experience that applies what you are learning before you begin exploring the job-search jungle.

Parts two and three of our internship series will be posted to the LBPR Blog in the coming weeks – stay tuned for more valuable tips on transitioning from school to the work world.