D. Sharon Pruitt
As a recent college graduate who has had the opportunity to intern at multiple companies, I understand that the transition between internships is not always easy. Each company comes with a new set of rules, employees, expectations, values and workloads. With all of these changes and more, adjusting to a new surrounding can provide for a roller coaster ride of emotions, stresses and challenges. However, I’ve learned there are incredible advantages to having multiple internships on your resume, as well as realistic expectations that should be kept.
Whether I was in a good or not-so-good internship, each one helped me grow and mature to make better decisions both in, and outside of, work. I’ve learned all experiences are learning opportunities, which also has taught me to follow my instincts and always try to use my best judgment. Here are some other tips I picked up along the way that will hopefully help you, too, if you’re in a similar situation.
New Experience + New Knowledge = New Power
They say knowledge is power, and the more experience you have, the more knowledge you gain. Having interned in different companies, and even industries, it has given me the opportunity to learn different working styles and ways of managing professional relationships. One of the best things about interning at multiple companies is the amount of connections and relationships I’ve built. I have been able to meet and work with some of the most incredible, accomplished and creative individuals. I know my career will depend on networking, and because of this I know I need to nurture the connections I have gained. Not only is networking important to your job search, but it’s important when gaining mentors and curating working relationships — that last.
A Whole New Learning Curve
Just when I thought I had a handle on my surroundings from my first internship, I needed to start over from scratch when I started my latest internship. Most internships last three months, which was just enough time for me to find my footing, albeit with the occasional stumble. The great part is I found my niche in my previous internship; however the challenging — and soon rewarding — part is that it was time to find my footing, again in a new internship. While I was excited to experience the new opportunity that came with a shiny new internship, I was sad to leave my first internship. The main thing I learned here is that I needed to remind myself that just because my time was finished inside the office walls, it didn’t mean the new relationships I worked hard to build had to end.
Expectations Should Not Always Determine the Outcome
It’s in your best interest to only set one expectation going into an internship — to succeed. I’ve learned it’s extremely important to go into your next internship with an open mind and be readiness to learn. Not only will it affect your work, but it will affect how open you are to meeting new people and accepting change. Each company is very different, even if they work in the same industry.
It’s Your Time, Make the Most of It
The best part about transitioning internships is that I’m able to change things — or react to situations in my new internship in the way that I wish I would have reacted before. It’s a chance to start fresh. Every experience is a learning opportunity, and with a fresh slate it’s the perfect time to shine. The most important, and hardest, thing for me to remember is that the company hired me for a reason, so it’s my responsibility to prove what I’m really capable of.
New internships have led me to new experiences, lessons and connections. All of these, which I am more than grateful for, will lead me to a new career and a soon-to-be accomplished professional. One thing I’ve done — and you should too — is take notes from I Want Her Job’s leading ladies. They all worked their way to the top, and it’s almost a guarantee they were all once interns, too.