How important are internships? Ask the Queen

So, there’s this job you desperately want. There’s no better way to figure out if it’s a great fit than doing an internship to “observe, learn and decide if that’s the industry for you.”

Lauren Berger, the Intern Queen, should know. She completed 15 internships, starting her freshman year in college. Berger was on campus Tuesday as the keynote speaker for the HYPE Program to share tips and advice on the value of internships.

“No one needs 15 internships, I know. That’s just weird. But you should focus on getting two great internships under your belt before you graduate,” she said. “With every one of them, I learned a little bit more about the person I want to be.”

Berger used her internship experiences and a couple of jobs out of college to become the founder and CEO of Intern Queen Inc., an online destination that helps students find and apply for internships while teaching them how to make the most of those experiences.

While we’re all “busy being busy,” Berger offered these great practical tips for students looking to land internships or enter the working world:

  • After you’ve made contact, send your resumé immediately (within 24 hours). “That is how you stand out and show you’re serious.”
  • Resumés and cover letters shouldn’t exceed one page, and should be customized. “You want to make potential employers feel special.”
  • Immediately after an interview, send a hand-written thank-you note. “Reference something you spoke about, thank them for their time and reiterate your excitement for the position. This is a must-do.”
  • Employers check you out on social media, so be careful what you post. “Don’t be weird on social media. If you’re hesitant, don’t post it.”
  • Set up informational interviews and stay in touch with your professional contacts three times a year. “Reach out, even if it’s just a two-sentence email.”
  • When you have a roadblock, FIO. “When people say no and you get rejected, Figure It Out.”
  • Be an advocate for yourself. “It’s up to all of you to think about what you want and really put yourself out there.”

Dealing with rejection, which happens daily, has been one of Berger’s biggest lessons learned. “Something usually comes after rejection. You have to just embrace it and move on. Even though it feels crummy, just push past it. Rejection doesn’t mean never. It just means not right now.”

Rejection is just one part of an exciting process. “You can do anything,” Berger said. “Internships help you get from here to wherever you want to be.”

Following her keynote, Berger met informally with students to answer their questions about her career and her business. Check out more at internqueen.com or read her books, “All Work, No Pay” and “Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work and Turning Your First Job into Your Dream Career.”

 

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