So with our new economy, are we starting to see a wave of “intern-for-life” types – those who are on their third, fourth, even fifth internships? Multiple internships are certainly encouraged as a way to build one’s professional experience, and to develop a career direction. But are some recent graduates using internships merely as a way to avoid the workforce?
Here’s a short test to determine if you are currently serving as an intern-for-life (Note: if you are still in school… the answer is no. You can never have too many internships!)
Question 1: During your current internship, or since your last internship, have you actively and passionately pursued your job search?
That’s it. One question. And a simple “yes” or “no” will suffice.
If yes, good for you. There is little danger of becoming an intern-for-life.
If no… well, all is not lost. Mostly because you clearly understand that an internship is not the end-game, but a major, and positive, step in your career development. And, you certainly realize that the best time to look for a “real job” is when you are actively working in your internship opportunity, expanding your sphere of influence, and networking like Ashton Kutcher.
On the other hand, if you let out a huge “Thank God!” when you secured your internship, and haven’t worked on your career plan since… trouble may be ahead. Another bad sign: if you’re already looking forward to your next internship – without having tested the job market with your new-found skills, influence and resume – there is a strong chance you’re going to the Dark Side.
Of course, very few will cross the line into the “intern-for-life” category. And many, undoubtedly, feel a series of internships are much better than being unemployed or under-employed. And we agree.
However, please remember that an internship is a crucial, almost mandatory, stage in your career development. Every career expert will tell you: do not treat the internship as a break from your future, and do not allow an internship to serve as a delay in your entrance to the workforce.
Avoid “intern-for-life” status. As your internship progresses, be sure to take the time to update your resume, complete your Linked-In profile, and most important – leverage your new networking contacts and mentor relationships.