Career Calling

February 2, 2012

Good Internships and Bad Internships

I have had clients who benefitted greatly from internships.  They worked for companies that offered good experience with a commitment to mentoring.  Some of these internships were paid, some not.  However, they all gave my clients hands-on experience that could be translated into their resumes.  They also enabled my clients to be more confident during interviews because they had real workplace success stories.

Some internships do not advance your career.  Recently one of my clients accepted an intense, three month internship that was unpaid.  The company asked its interns to research and analyze potential customers.  Then they made phone calls to set up appointments for the company’s sales team.  The atmosphere at the company was pure boiler room: Work hard – work harder.  At the end of her assignment, my client received a tepid letter of recommendation.  She had no confidence that her supervisor would give her a good recommendation or even remember her name if an employer called.  In essence, she was free labor for three months. 

All internships are not the same.  Before committing to an internship, you need to analyze what you will be giving the company and what you will be getting in return.  If the work you perform will not let you learn new skills or give you resources to use on a resume or in an interview, think twice about taking the position.  Don’t let someone take advantage of you.  Walk away from a bad internship.

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