While still in college and running the Young & Ambitious Brand, I decided to do something that could potentially help me in the long run, I decided to intern. I am a media production major in college and I work at the local mall in my hometown, but I don't want to be a retail sales associate my entire life. My dream job would be to work at a news station or radio station editing audio & video content to air to the public. But a job like that requires a degree and experience in the field which I don't have. A few years ago while on Facebook, I saw a post from one of the local radio hosts and she was looking to hire interns. I thought this could be the perfect opportunity for me. She was looking for people to film & edit video content for social media, write blogs for the website, create graphics and so much more. Two of the things on that list I already did for the Young & Ambitious website so I thought this was perfect. I quickly filled out the application and when she scheduled the interview I made sure I knocked it out of the park showing her just exactly what I was capable of and bring examples of some of my best work. Almost 3 years later and I am still interning and having a blast.
We work out of the radio station and on occasion, we go off-site to cover events and shows. As part of my responsibilities, I write blogs, create content for social media, help develop ideas for the show and sometimes I get to grab the mic and say a few words while we are live. I can honestly say interning was one of the best decisions of my career but it might not be right for everybody. I decided to create a list of pros and cons to help you decide if that summer internship will work for you.
1. A Real Close-up Of The Job
If you aren't fully committed to the idea of making something your permanent career choice, an internship is the way to go. You get a real up close and personal look at the day to day operations and just how much work is involved. Before interning at the radio station, I thought the only responsibility of the host was to get on air and talk, but a lot more work goes into it. There's show prep, finding guests to interview, thinking of ideas to keep the show interesting and more. I get to see and help out with that type of stuff.
2. Real-Life Experience
A lot of times when you apply for jobs, especially a job that is results-driven, the employer wants to hire someone with experience so they can see that you can handle the job. But it's hard to get experience without a job. An internship is a perfect way to get experience for the job you're looking for and if you're lucky and do a great job, you might be offered a position with the business you interned for. While on my job search, I found out that a lot of jobs for news editors or multimedia content producers want you to have experience with film & editing equipment, knowledge of website builders and social media platforms and much more. Well at my internship one of my duties is to film portions of the show and edit them so they can be posted to Facebook & Instagram. When the time comes for me to apply for that job, I will already have a portfolio of work to show an employer and hopefully, that will give me a step above my competition.
3. Exposure & Fun Opportunities
One of the best advantages of interning at a radio station is being able to meet celebrities and interact with them. On several occasions, we've had athletes, singers, rappers and actresses come up to the station for interviews. Since I'm on the job, I have to keep my cool and cannot fan out, but I can interact with them, make connections and take photos for the 'gram. Who knows? Maybe they like the video work I did or like the photos that I took of them. That can turn into followers on social media or job opportunities.
1. You're Working For Free
One of the biggest and probably the worst part about having an internship is that you don't get paid. You spend a big chunk of time working but you don't get a paycheck at the end of the week. I don't get paid for my work but, at the end of the day, you have to realize that the real compensation is the knowledge that you are gaining and the experience that you now have.
2. Internships Take Away Your Free Time
Some internships require you to put in a certain amount of hours and if you're like me, you are going to school, going to work and interning. That's a lot to juggle and you definitely have to learn time management but it also becomes a huge sacrifice when you realize you don't have time to hang with your friends or binge-watch your favorite shows on Netflix. Interning is definitely like a second job. My internship is only 1 day a week, but it's on Friday night from 8pm-3am. That means no parties for me.
3. Interns Do The Dirty Work
You ever watch Diddy's old show "Making The Band"? Well on one episode, he made the guys in the house travel through the busy streets of New York City to find the specific piece of cheesecake for him. If you work in an office setting or for a big company and you're not working directly with the bosses, you could be stuck doing the dirty work and the stuff nobody else wants to do. You could end up going to get lunch for the entire, or filing the paperwork that takes hours. Worst case scenario, you might not even be doing work that's related to the job you want and it turns out to be a waste of time.
I'm lucky enough to have a great internship that provides me with excellent knowledge and experience. When searching for an internship, make sure you look for all the qualities you would want in a job. Most times, internships will offer you college credit for your work so make sure you check with your professors and counselors on campus. They are an awesome resource to helping you enter the workforce when the time comes. Also, check student message boards around campus. Companies will send flyers to the schools for them to post and you can always visit websites of companies that you have an interest in. Remember, if you take an internship, make the most of it. Learn as much as you can, make as many connections as possible and do your best work because you never know who's watching.