The title may not be the best, but let me get straight to the point: internships. Okay yes they look great on your resume, but you know what else it can lead to? Well other than earning money, I would say it’s another way for you to discover your talents and passion in just a few months. As a first generation student, it can be a rough start especially if this is your first job. However, this year I made a few mistakes that led to lessons which eventually landed me with opportunities. Now it’s my time to share and hope you take something away and use it in the future.

1. Apply Early

I can’t stress this enough. One thing I didn’t think about was that many companies start seeking for interns as early as the summer before. Seek out companies you like based on positions, values, opportunities of growth and more. Have this list and research because it will come in handy when it comes to interviews. If you run into an application with a due date a year away, take note of that and apply early if you can. Take initiative because you want to stand out.

2. One Resume? Oh no, more like two.

Something that I learned while applying to internships is that you have to get your foot in the door one way or another. You might be able to land the internship of your dreams, or end up like me where your placement has nothing to do with your major. Yet, that is definitely OKAY. Throughout my process, I realized I had experience in both my engineering degree and sales. In knowing this, I got help from peers and the career services at school to create two resumes. This easily opened up more doors for me. Although I am an engineering major, I was given a sales intern position for an elevator company because of ‘how engineers think’ and my experience in sales. I took this offer because it’s a perfect chance to get your foot in the door. Don’t underestimate any opportunity. Take it and see where it goes. I’m only halfway through my internship but I’ve already been told that I will be receiving recommendation to move to the engineering department for next summer because of how well I’m doing so far.

3. Professionalism

Let’s say this is your first internship, like me. Although I have almost two months of my internship, I still feel like this will never change: the first few weeks will be tough. Training will take over. My first few weeks was full of on-boarding courses for applications, ethics, policies and more. I felt like I wasn’t being used to my fullest potential, but I’m telling you this: it’s only temporary. Sometimes you’ll have free time during this process, but don’t stop working. I used my free time to read articles about the company and boy did I learn more than ever about elevators (it’s not just about moving up and down btw). Lastly, learn the difference between being helpful and annoying. You’re there to observe and learn. Understand your companies objectives and set yourself some. Don’t be shy, ask questions, enthusiastic and professional. You never who you’ll meet one day.

I can go on about what I’ve learned so far in this process, however I wanted to keep it short for you guys. As always, I’m here to help in anyway possible and feel that the rest of us I’m First recipients do too. Let me know if you got an internship and how it’s going or what you’ve learned! I’ll love to hear about it ! 🙂