When “Plan A” Doesn’t Work

By: Annie

Finding an internship is a stressful process, especially when you don’t know where or how to start. People might be giving you all kinds of advice on where to look for openings, how to write a resume, what to do in an interview, and so on. Many students attempt to navigate finding an internship while sitting neck deep in schoolwork and other responsibilities. If you feel like you are walking through a flooded corn maze, you are not alone.

Last year, I set a goal to find an internship for the summer of 2012. I updated my resume, used connections in my network, attended career fairs, and I got several job leads that led to interviews. I was on the right track, right? Well, my search took place during a 19-credit semester (this was a lot for me). Managing my time has never been one of my strengths. It seemed like I was either on top of my internship search or my studying, but never both. Overwhelming myself made for a less than ideal end to my semester. My goal to have a summer internship was not met. It was not for lack of effort, but a combination of many factors. Regardless, I was in need of a new approach for finding an internship (now for the fall semester).

Interning during the school year is much different than interning in the summer. Having the time and reliable transportation becomes more difficult with school and no car.

The first thing I did was sought out someone who could help me modify my plan. Ellen Hatfield, a Career Counselor in our office, made these two suggestions:

  1. Develop a proposal to create a marketing intern position where I was already working (Career & Internship Services)
  2. Read All Work, No Pay by Lauren Berger, the Intern Queen

The first suggestion was something I had never thought of before. It made a lot of sense because it eliminated my transportation issues, I already knew my co-workers and how the office worked, and there was a need for increasing our marketing efforts. Getting creative about where I looked for an internship is what brought me to my current position as the marketing intern for Career & Internship Services.

The second suggestion, reading the book, was helpful because it was a reliable source that supported many of the things I had heard about internships. As you can see from my experience, there is not one way to get a position as an intern. If you are getting different information about what to do, it can make the process more difficult than it has to be. In All Work, No Pay, Lauren Berger maps out the basic elements of an internship search. From preparing for your search to working as an intern, this book is an excellent navigation tool. The first chapter really struck home with me because it gave me a new perspective on managing my time (something I desperately needed). Having the time for an internship with school and work was one of my biggest concerns. Berger’s clever visuals, helpful checklists, and personal experiences make for an easy, beneficial read. In case you haven’t caught on, I would highly recommend reading this book!

Working as an intern is an important part of transitioning into the professional world, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Set a goal, make a plan, and be flexible to adjusting that plan as you go. Opportunities are everywhere; you just need to find the one that fits for you!

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Read Annie’s other posts

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