For many AUB students, junior year comes with the heavy burden of finding an internship. Though the career center may try to point you in the right direction, the options are limited and you will have to do some of the heavy-lifting yourself.
For the average student, procrastination takes the front seat until the deadline comes looming in. Here are seven lessons commonly learned in the pursuit of an internship:
Lesson #1: Spare yourself the last minute panic and start internship-hunting as early as possible.
After several rejections and hearing the “we can no longer accommodate an intern” phrase, you may start to lose hope, but starting your job hunt early will give you a wider range of choices and more time to pursue different opportunities.
Lesson #2: Don’t let rejections discourage you. If you keep trying, you’ll land the opportunity. Those who settle for unemployment are not trying hard enough.
When you start occupying the position, you’ll realize that many of your colleagues have been referred to the company by an acquaintance. Getting rejected is not due to your unemployability but probably just a lack of job vacancies.
Lesson #3: Work on building a strong network of people who can highlight your potentials to employers and render you a worthy candidate for the job.
Give a good impression, be ready for elevator pitches, small talk, and expressing the best possible version of yourself. Referral might be depicted as cronyism or nepotism, but from another perspective, it is a shortcut that you get after truly showing your worth to your connections.
At the end of the day, no one would want to refer you to their company if you’re a complete disaster. Do not be too shy to talk to your professors and colleagues—they might help you get the internship you’re looking for.
Lesson #4: Highlight your personal skills to possible employers. Coming from a prestigious university is a booster, but it is better complemented with a strong personality, dedication, interpersonal skills, and experience in order to reach higher places.
It is important to not overwhelm yourself with high expectations: do not expect to start your career in a managerial position, directing hardcore activities. Everyone starts from the bottom, but not all of them make the best out of it.
Lesson #5: Work on reaching your long-term goals while making the best out of your beginner situation.
A lot of the people you will meet are occupying jobs that are not even remotely close to their degrees or area of expertise, but they settled for these positions due to lack of available opportunities, a good salary, a comfortable work environment, etc.
That is not always a disadvantage, and you might actually discover that you really blend in this field. If you find yourself in the “wrong” place, do not remain static. You can always try something else.
Lesson #6: Don’t settle for the first offer you get. Do as many internships as you need to find a position that interests you.
Most importantly, when you find an opportunity, seize it. After all, you know what the best timings and the favorable conditions for your individual growth are.
Lesson #7: Make your own luck.
Opportunities will not wait for you. If you want that career, go after it. If you want change, seek it. You are young and several opportunities await you.