Here are some issues to consider to have a kick ass internship experience…
1. Find the Shoe that Fits.
Do some research and find a company that has a corporate culture that fits you perfectly, that one company that you will love going to work for every day, and one that you think you can make a true difference at. Forget the Fortune 500 companies that want you use you as a copy machine with a pulse. Take your knowledge and extreme passion elsewhere. Only then will you find a match made in heaven. Youtern.com is a valuable research tool. The site connects interns with entrepreneurial companies that are just waiting to put your passion to work. Much better than taking the $8.00/hour envelope licking internship, I promise.
2. Think about Value, not about Dollars.
When hunting for internships, I urge you to ignore the difference between paid and unpaid internships. Often times the internships that pay a small hourly wage are much less valuable for your experience and future than others that don’t. Take advantage of the best internship you can imagine, regardless of pay. Go out on a limb with a start up and fall in love with building something from scratch and pave your own way. You have the rest of your life to get paid for the experiences you have gained as an intern. Forget the paycheck.
3. Go in for the Kill.
Once you find that perfect fit, contact them and tell them how you feel. If you simply send in your traditional “perfect” resume, congratulations, you are one of a thousand and you just won’t cut it. Sell yourself. Stand out by making a phone call to the company’s HR office to let them know you are extremely passionate about interning for them. If the HR office doesn’t recognize you, move up the ladder. Don’t take no for an answer. Write a letter to the President, nothing is off limits, be creative. If you get to the Chief Executive Officer and they turn you down too, they are foolish and their company has lost out on a very valuable resource. Move on and find the company smart enough to utilize you.
4. Kick Ass.
You did your research and are so confident in your ability to help a company you could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. You’ve landed the ultimate internship. You love it so much that you’d do it for free, and you very well may be. Now it is time to kick ass and have fun doing it. Do everything in your power to make a difference for your company every day. In the end, you will learn lots, make lifelong connections, and prove to yourself and everyone else that you are the best.
Daniel has been named Top Finalist in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “College Entrepreneur of 2010″ Contest. We encourage you to vote for Daniel athttp://www.entrepreneur.com/e2010/vote/college.php#261.