I recently had the chance to interview Natan Edelsburg, Vice President of Sawhorse Media. Sawhorse Media creates rapidly scalable platforms for curating social media as a reaction to the overwhelming amount of data generated by the real-time web. After speaking with Natan, I had gained a better understanding of the value of internships.
Natan mentioned that the more internships you take on, the more experience you gain. However, that does not necessarily mean you have to intern at a large number of companies. Below are four steps to finding career happiness through internships:
1. Become Knowledgeable. The first step in finding internships that work best for you is to research the company you are interested in. Doing simple online searches or reading some of the press the company gets is a great way to collect secondary information before you begin to gain primary information from the employees themselves. Before my interview with Natan, I researched what his company does and what they are known for. I was knowledgeable about what he was talking about, and this allowed me to ask more intellectual and meaningful questions.
2. Seek out Help. Regarding internships, it is great to request an informational interview with someone from the staff just to get their point of view on what the company does and what you should expect. Some employees may even let you shadow them for a day to get real-time experience before applying for their internship. All of these steps are simple to complete, and will give you the background information needed to make your decision about where to begin.
3. Explore Your Options. One of the hardest things to decide after you have your first internship is what you should do next, however many people have different opinions regarding this. After looking at Natan’s LinkedIn Profile, I realized he had interned or worked for at least 16 companies. Natan said he chose to do this because he feels that the more internships you have, the more you know what you like and what you don’t. Multiple internships allow you to try out all areas of communication and different positions to see where you jive the best by the time you look for a job. Natan realized through a few of his internships that he would much rather prefer to work at a start-up agency to get a more hands-on experience than in a corporate setting. In a start-up agency, he knew the company needed his help and he would be a beneficial partner. After multiple internships, Natan has found is niche at Sawhorse Media and it is clear that he loves his job.
4. Find What Makes You Happy. The advice that Natan gave me makes perfect sense: the only way to find out what you like and what you don’t like is to give everything a try. However, if you are lucky enough to find an internship that you absolutely love, there is no problem with sticking with that company. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship this summer because I learned so much about public relations and I had a blast doing it. If all works out, I am looking forward to doing it all over again this summer.
When figuring out what internship works best for you, take Natan’s advice. The question as to whether you should try many internships or just stick with what you know and love with always surface. All professionals will give you different feedback regarding this question, but as a young employee, it is something you must explore yourself.
What is your opinion about repeating internships vs. exploring as many as you can? How about paid internships vs. unpaid internships?