Consider This Before Starting Your Next Internship

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

By: Felisha Ellison

 Every college student has heard the importance of interning. The job market can be unpredictable and prospective openings vary depending on the industry. As a result, well-meaning employers boast about the benefits of grinding at the bottom to gain the necessary work experience needed to compete for a job after graduation. This concept makes sense. Acquiring work experience within your desired career path should do nothing but propel you into the career of your dreams after graduation, right?

 Well, perhaps.

While it’s always a good idea to expand your experiences and absorb as much information as possible, it is also important to maintain a prudent eye as you consider prospective internships.  

Proverbs 22:3 (TPT - The Passion Translation) “A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming and prepares himself for it. But the senseless rush blindly forward and suffer the consequences.”

I have held more than seven internships over the course of my college career and after graduation. During this time, I’ve learned a lot about the landscape of internships and what an outstanding internship program looks like.

Here are some tips to consider before starting your next internship!

 

1.     What’s In It For You?

  • Remember that an internship should be a mutually beneficial relationship. As a student, I was often so hungry for the title of ‘intern’ that I focused more on what I would say during the interview than what the interviewer was saying to me. I learned the hard way that not all internships are created equal.

  • Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying. Ask not only what you can do for the internship, but what the internship can do for you.

    • Some questions to consider during the interview: What skills am I going to develop during this internship? Will there be a mentor to guide me?

  • Many internship roles involve a great deal of administrative work, i.e. filing, grabbing coffee for your boss, etc.  If you know what you want to get out of the internship beforehand, work with your boss to balance these tasks with necessary skills you’ll need to land your dream job once the internship is over.

  • If your boss doesn’t initially provide a structured list of learning objectives, you can suggest things that you would like to learn based on your desired goals. A quick Google search of job descriptions in your prospective field can provide insight on the type of experience you should have when entering the work force. The skill set and experience outlined in these job descriptions should be consistent with what you learn during your internship.

  • If the internship is eligible for college credit, the learning objectives may be outlined by your university. Although, it never hurts to show initiative by researching additional skills that you would like to learn and present them to your hiring manager. This not only shows initiative, but also interest in the role that you are pursuing. It may also help pull you away from the coffee maker for a few hours!

2.    Know Your Worth and Add Tax:

  • I have held a series of both paid and unpaid internships. Of course, remembering my financial struggles as a college student, I favor paid internships. Paid internships are especially useful if you are studying at an out-of-state school as it can help offset some of your cost of living. Attending college is an expensive feat on its own, so the opportunity to be compensated for food, travel, and time (one or all three) can have a lasting impact on your overall well-being as a student.

  • Not having to worry about how you will get to your internship or how you will eat during lunch will help smooth out some of the obstacles that come with balancing school, an internship, and perhaps a part-time job all at the same time. There are laws in place to help regulate internship pay. The U.S. Department of Labor has a test for determining if an intern should be paid or not. Find it here.

Check your local legislation to learn the specific requirements regarding internships in your city.

  • If your internship is not paid, look for resources to help supplement your income. If you are a minority looking to intern, you can apply for funding at www.shattertheceiling.co/apply.

  • Some paid internships are the equivalent of an entry-level position within a company. While this is a strategic budgeting strategy for the business, it can prove to be a disparaging reality for many interns. With this in mind, try to find out if interns are typically hired at the end of the program that you are pursuing. If the internship has a revolving door structure, decide if this will be the right program for you. Depending on where you are in your job search, the structure of your internship can prove to either align with or create a roadblock for your career aspirations. Wherever you are on your internship journey, remember to learn from your experiences and use them to create a better future for yourself.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV – New International Version)

3.     Do Your Research:

  • Be diligent in researching your position before starting the internship. Ask a lot of questions during the interview process to avoid confusion and disappointment as a result of unmet expectations.

  • A great resource for learning the scope of a company from an insider’s perspective is glassdoor.com! With Glassdoor, you can read what other interns and employees have said about their experiences with various companies. Always read reviews with a grain of salt as perspectives may be skewed by an influx of extreme instances. Just know that reviews may also provide some useful insight.  

  • Research the company’s values and mission statement. Decide if they align with your personal values. Review the location, atmosphere, and company culture when you visit the office for your interview and try to get an idea of if this would be a place that you could see yourself working in the future.

  • Last but what is really first - pray about the role and seek God as to whether or not this is the next step that he is asking you to take in your career. If you feel peace about it, it may be the right door to walk through.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NIV – New International Version)

Overall, learn all that you can and remain open to new experiences.


How to 'Live Better and Lead Best' in 2019

brittany cole

by Brittany Cole

At the end of last year, all I could think of was "hurry up 2019!" Then I had to stop and remind myself that 2018 was truly a blessing.

You see, 2017 was a year of extremes. I’d accomplished a big career goal and learned through experience what resilience and persistence truly meant. Talk about a high! We, my husband and I, moved to my dream city, New York City, so I could take on a new marketing role that was the first of its kind, and I just knew was meant for me!

Enter disruption.

Three months after relocating from Chattanooga, TN to New York, NY my mom died unexpectedly. So, 2017 brought a whole new meaning to the word resilience and the amazing power of grace. I was so glad to welcome the new year.

In contrast, 2018 was the year of clarity, purposeful living and growth – both personally and professionally. I’m grateful for the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to work with this past year and all the lessons I’ve learned.

Professionally and personally I’m most proud of:

  • Exceeding my 2018 goals as a brand manager and being recognized across by my company for my innovative work as a digital marketer

  • Earning a promotion to relocate back to my hometown of Nashville, TN to lead a sales team and see them continue to achieve

  • Sharing my voice and being invited to speak to groups within my organization that I would’ve never been exposed to otherwise

  • Raising my hand to lead diversity and inclusion initiatives within my organization that truly fuel my people development passion

  • Expanding my speaker and coaching opportunities with STYLE by Britt to inspire collegiate to C-Suite leaders across various universities and companies thrive in the workplace

  • Gaining clarity on how my professionally career, purpose and calling all intersect and how every obstacle has been necessary to help me serve others with greater impact

  • Seeing my husband elevate within his profession, serve on boards that fuel his passion and land his dream job

I believe that every experience is an opportunity for continuous improvement. As I continue to learn and grow, here are a few lessons from 2018 that I’ll be taking with me into 2019:

  • Every obstacle I’ve encountered personally and professionally has shown me that I’m more equipped, capable, qualified and ready than I thought. It’s time for me to start believing BIGGER.

  • I can create the opportunities I want to see in my workplace. Sometimes my biggest obstacle was staring back at me in the mirror.

  • Beyond a vacation, spa appointment or salon visit, self-care is about learning to say no to experiences and even people that don’t align with my purpose and mission

  • Bringing my authentic self to work, every day, creates opportunities in alignment with who I am and where I thrive best. The more I’ve shared my love of speaking and professional development, the more opportunities I received – even within my organization.

  • Vulnerability is strength and it creates trust, which is essential to thriving in relationships and business.

  • Take the vacation. There will always be more to do, and if my leadership is creating more leaders then there will be people on my team that can cover the gaps in my absence.

  • Saying and being told no makes room for my best YES! Once again, it’s essential!

 
I hope you’ve also taken some time to reflect on all that you have accomplished, experienced and, most importantly, learned this year!

What are some of your big aha moments and lessons that you’re taking into 2019?

As I commit to more purposeful living and flourishing in my gifts, I look forward to doing more speaking and coaching in the new year! If you’re interested in working with me to help you thrive in your career or booking me to speak, please visit www.stylebybritt.com for more info!

Brittany Cole is a brand manager, speaker, and career coach who helps diverse millennials identify their personal brand and cultivate executive presence to thrive in the workplace. Learn more about her at www.stylebybritt.com or follow her on social media @stylebybritt

Facing Your Fears to Live Life to the Fullest

Photo by Viktor_Gladkov/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Viktor_Gladkov/iStock / Getty Images

by Megan Montgomery

Growing up,  I was always more cautious than my two adventurous brothers.  You could regularly find them tearing down a steep hill on their rollerblades while I stayed on the smaller hill and slowly took my time, careful not to build up too much momentum. When they built a homemade snow jump for sledding, I refused to try it out and while I missed out on a fun moment, I felt vindicated when their joy ride ended with a trip to the emergency room and stitches. As this happened regularly over the years, some of that caution was probably wise but not all of it. Some of it was fear.

As I started to grow into adulthood, the fear just got worse and started expanding into things I had previously been able to do with ease.  Things I used to love like acting ceased to be fun as I developed stage fright and even anxiety over public speaking. Heights, flying, confined spaces, it seemed like everything caused my heart to pound and my stress levels to go up, which sucked the enjoyment out of different activities and caused me to miss out on things just so I would not experience the fear.

It has been a long journey but I am happy to say I am back to the place where I enjoy public speaking again and I am more adventurous than I have ever been in my life.  That’s not to say there aren’t ever situations where fear tries to come in but I have learned a number of strategies over the years to help safeguard against fear.

  1. Do things afraid. It may sound counterintuitive but facing my fear and doing things even while I was scared of them was very helpful to breakthrough. Whether it was public speaking, singing karaoke, taking a trapeze class, white water rafting, or allowing myself to be vulnerable in my writing, I started saying yes to the opportunities in front of me.  Then I climbed up to the trapeze mount for the first time, I wasn’t just filled with anxiety but I was in full-fledged body shaking mode. But, as I decided to push through and just go for it, the fear started to break off of me. It didn’t always fully break off the first time I did something but as I continued to push through my fears, I experienced new levels of freedom.  What was most amazing to me is that the freedom and confidence carried through to other areas in life. Who would have known that swimming with manta rays or flying around the waters on a jet ski would help me have more courage public speaking? Or who would have thought that singing karaoke would give me the moxie to try trapeze? Somehow it’s all interconnected to me and the very act of not allowing fear to rule one area of my life helped to stop it from taking over other areas.

  2. Get lots of quiet time. In our fast-paced, digital world it’s easy to get stressed out and anxious.  I find I need quiet time with the TV off, not scrolling through my phone, in order for me to really unwind and rejuvenate.  I also rejuvenate a lot quicker in nature and even though I live in NYC, I find beaches and parks to go to on the weekends when it is nice out, even if I can only get there for a few hours.  In the winter, my relaxation time is more likely to be a bath with salts and lavender oil. No matter what the R&R looks like for you, I highly recommend some digital detox time.

  3. Get plugged into God.  During my quiet time when I am unplugged from everything, I like to plug into God.  For me that looks like is talking to God and processing things with him, and singing along to worship music. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love casts out all fear.  God is love, so the more time I spend resting in that perfect love, the more I feel fear leave me. There are also a number of other verses that I like to spend time meditating on as it reminds me of who I am created to be and who God is.  Another one I love is “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7.) When thoughts of fear or anxiety come up, I read these verses and remind myself that is not who I am. I am a woman of power, of love, and of a sound mind.  

We all have unique gifts and strengths to offer the world and when we live our lives in fear, it holds us back from living fully. Life is too short to let fear have the upper hand. Go and do one thing today that you’ve always been afraid to do.   

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are ALL meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

 

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Megan Montgomery

Megan Montgomery is a marketer by day, writer and avid traveler by night whose home base is NYC.  She has a passion for “all things kids” since she is a big kid at heart and has been involved in international missions for 15+ years, traveling to 25 countries both for missions and personal travel.