The Minority Millennial: Intern Extraordinaire, Part II

The conclusion to the Intern Extraordinaire series has finally arrived. Here are some more tips for navigating the internship waters. The first post is located here.

My favorite website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Try virtual internships!

For some reason, this always gets lost within the internship debate. Not that all virtual internships are unpaid – or even should be – but it’s a great and easy way to get around the unpaid hurdle. If you’re in the interests of saving costs, and want to work on building an online presence, I think the virtual route is the way to go. Unfortunately, it is true that unlike physical interns you may not get the same training and day-to-day company experience, but if the company is involved with their interns you’ll have active participation in the company through Skype, Google, or other virtual mediums. I’ll admit, it involves some major time management skills and the willpower to complete your work at home, but if you’re willing to try it I would definitely recommend participating in a virtual internship. I would recommend being absolutely sure of the company’s online presence though. If you’re doing a virtual internship, you want to make sure that you’re with a company that you feel is moving forward within the internet sphere.

Unfortunately the deadline has already passed for this year, but if you’re interested the U.S. government has a virtual internship program as well. 

Look for “In-House” positions

One of my best friends is an English major, and managed to find an internship with our college’s communications department. Our career services department also offers an internship to help out with some of the career development programs. I know not all colleges have them, but it never hurts to look around and see what kind of opportunities your college has. You might even be able to talk a professor into taking you on as a research assistant, which can still lead to a lot of benefits, especially if you want to work in academia!

Don’t forget about campus ambassador/brand ambassador programs

Many people consider campus ambassadors to be a great way to gain experience with a company without actually being an intern. I personally don’t have much experience with them, but I know that companies such as Apple, Coca Cola, and Adobe (one example is listed here) have ambassador programs. It’s a great position for budding entrepreneurs and social media lovers who want to have both a larger online presence, and gain some essential sales experience.

The Financially Impossible Situation

Lastly, we come to those who realize that ultimately, working for free is not a task they can undertake. And even though thousands of articles have been written about how that may be the end of the world for you, I’m here to say that it’s OK if you can’t take on an unpaid situation. Stick to your FT, PT, or Work Study job, look into potential on campus jobs that relate to your career path, and emphasize your skills in the career that you’re shooting for. While working at the college gym may not relate to your career in journalism, emphasize that you’re diligent, hard working, and willing to still to a schedule and can manage large groups of people. Show that you’re a dedicated person despite not having internships. You may not start out at the corporation of your dreams, but many students haven’t been able to do that at the moment as it is. Stick to what works best for you.

And if you’re a paid intern, take advantage of you opportunity to network as much as possible. Enjoy the experience, but make the most of it.

Hope that this article helped you get on the right track for navigating the intern world. Please feel free to respond with any more points or questions about the unpaid and paid intern life.


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