Are dead-end internships the exception or the norm? “For Interns, All Work And No Payoffs” reports that many millenials feel “trapped in a cycle of internships with little pay and no job offers”. How many internships (if any) does one need to work to land a dream job and/or a position with true growth opportunity?
One intern interviewed couldn’t break free of the “intern cycle” and was on his fourth low paying internship with no hiring prospects. Another intern interviewed voiced frustration over the fact that she applied to over 300 jobs with no response, yet her applications for internships were answered.
There are always barriers and costs to entering a new profession, and some fields require serious experience for success. Here are some smart tips on how to select internship opportunities that will pay off for you:
ASK ABOUT HIRING OPPORTUNITIES AT THE INTERVIEW. Ask your potential employer about the likelihood of securing employment at the end of the internship. How many interns were hired during the last 3 years? Also ask about the specific accomplishments of other interns. If no interns were ever hired and/or offered key responsibilities, it might be wise to look for internship opportunities elsewhere.
INTERNSHIP AGREEMENT. After you receive your internship offer, establish an “Agreement of Reciprocal Gains” with your employer that provides you with a gradual allowance to assume responsibility for more complex and useful tasks and projects. In the beginning, you will most likely be asked to do low-level tasks but if you have mastered these tasks, your employer should provide you with the opportunity to become involved in bigger and better assignments.
VIEW THE INTERNSHIP AS AN “EXTENDED INTERVIEW” AND GIVE A SUPER STAR PERFORMANCE. Just because you were hired and you’re already in the company, does not mean that you will be given preferential treatment for hiring. As an intern, you need to rise above the expected and give a super star performance, even if your initial assignments are not very challenging. You should also be going out of your way to meet and impress people in your company (in addition to the high level executives in your department), who are in the position to hire you.