MindFloss recently published a new video about 25 famous people who started their careers as interns at the bottom of the totem pole. From news anchors like Anderson Cooper to fashion designers such as Betsey Johnson, successful people from almost every industry got their start as an intern.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration during your internship, here are five important lessons to take away from history’s most famous interns:
1. You’re Never Too Young to Intern
Steve Jobs got his start as an intern at Hewitt Packard at the age of 12, where he worked on an assembly line putting screws into computer parts. This internship gave Jobs the opportunity to connect with Steve Wozniak, who eventually became his business partner when he founded Apple Computers in 1976.
Whether you’re still in high school or you’ve just graduated college, it’s never too soon (or too late) to start an internship. If you’re ready to gain experience in your industry, then you’re ready to work as an intern.
2. You Find Out What You Don’t Like
When Bill Gates was only 17, he interned as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives. As an intern, Gates delivered messages, prepared the House chambers for each day’s session, and performed a variety of administrative tasks. It was during this internship that Gates discovered to stay out of politics.
Throughout college, you might have an internship or two that isn’t exactly your cup of tea. However, by gaining this experience, you’ll discover exactly what you want and don’t want out of your career.
3. You Have to Break the Rules
Film director Stephen Spielberg got his start as an unofficial intern at Universal Studios at the age of 17. Spielberg technically wasn’t allowed to work as an intern, but sneaked into studios to network with film directors and even produced his own film during his unofficial internship. When directors discovered Spielberg’s film, they ended up loving it and offered him a seven-year contract where he became the youngest director ever hired by Universal Studios.
Sometimes, you have to think outside the box if you want to gain experience. You’re likely to get turned down for opportunities, but you can’t let rejection stop you from gaining experience. If you stay persistent, you’ll gain the experience you need to become successful.
4. You Have to Get Your Foot in the Door
Oprah Winfrey is an excellent example of an intern who worked to get her foot in the door. She started as an intern for a news station in Tennessee and was offered a job as news anchor. Following this job, she starred in The Color Purple, and now, Winfrey is one of the wealthiest women in the world.
Every successful person must start somewhere in their careers, and internships serve as a wonderful opportunity to gain the foundation you need. While you may not want to pay your dues at the time, it’s definitely worth it for your future.
5. You Have the Ability to do Great Things
Xerox CEO Ursula Burns first interned at Xerox as a mechanical engineering intern. After her internship, she was promoted to multiple leadership positions and eventually was appointed as CEO of Xerox in 2009, making her the first African-American woman CEO.
Just because you have to work as an intern for a few years in college doesn’t mean you can’t climb your way to the top. As long as you work hard, stay focused on your goals, and network with the right people, you’ll find your way to your dream job before you know it.
What do you hope to accomplish after your internship?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Heatherhuhman.com!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. Follow her on Twitter at@heatherhuhman.