Questions Answered: What is an internship and why should I want one?

internsQuestion: I know this is dumb question but I dont understand what is internship? All my friends want to get internship and everyone know what is it. Am feel very stupid to ask anyone. I had part time job work in bookstore to help pay tuitions but is it same to internship? Do I need internship for my career? Thank you to your help to me it will be hard to ask my profs or friends. ~ Tatya Z., New York, NY

Answer: I am really glad that you asked this question, Tatya. Although it may seem as though all of your friends know what internships are, you are not alone in wanting some clarification. Many students and employers still have some confusion about what internships are and how they are different from other types of employment or from volunteer activities. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE),

Internships are typically one-time work or service experiences related to the student’s major or career goal. The internship plan generally involves students working in professional settings under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals. Internships can be paid or unpaid and the student may or may not receive academic credit for performing the internship. (Note: The issue of pay is dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.)

An internship is intended to be an intentional learning opportunity that would give you the chance to gain practical experience in your field while under the supervision of a professional within that field. This is different than, for example, your part time job at the bookstore because, while you may have learned many things, what you learned was not necessarily intentional. Moreover, your manager was not necessarily supervising you with the intent of helping you enter the fields of retail, book publishing, or purchasing.

There are many reasons that internships are so valuable.  Aside from getting you practical experience, internships help you to test out a field while you are still a student and they give you the opportunity to begin networking with professionals in your field. Employers generally look quite favorably on applicants who have related internship experience. For example, a recent survey from NACE showed that employers made offers of full-time employment to 64.8 percent of their interns.

Please have a look through our Internship Basics articles where we answer questions like, Can I get paid?, When should I intern?, and Can I intern in the United States if I’m an international student?

5 Easy Ways to Annoy Everyone at Your New Job

annoyed_womanI recently asked some friends and colleagues what a new co-worker could do to really annoy them. While there was a wide range of potentially annoying behaviors, the following five consistently left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth:

Bail on your co-workers
Call in sick to work, and then post pictures of yourself on Instagram (or your site of choice) at a ball game from the same day.
How to be extra annoying: Make sure you call in sick on the day of an important meeting or event that everyone else will be staying late for.

Refuse to help out
When someone asks you for help on a small project, ALWAYS refuse; it will be particularly annoying if you are snarky when refusing.
How to be extra annoying: Insist that no where on your job description does it say that you need to help with that particular task.

Point out how each of your co-workers is doing their jobs WRONG
Since you have barely learned your own job, let alone anyone else’s, when you point out all the errors that your colleagues are making, you will definitely annoy them.
How to be extra annoying: Don’t tell your colleagues what they are doing wrong in person; instead, email them a list of their mistakes, and be sure to CC the rest of the staff while you’re at it.

Over-share, all the time
Whether at the photo copier, in meetings, via email, or in the parking lot, be sure to share private details about your personal life. The more private and embarrassing, the more annoying.
How to be extra annoying: Don’t take the hint when people stop talking to you or flat out tell you to stop over-sharing; just keep on sharing all your NSFW stories.

Ignore everyone else’s need for personal space
This one is super easy to do and only requires a complete lack of boundaries. For example, rifle through a co-worker’s desk for office supplies, read someone’s email over their shoulder, or plop yourself down on top of a colleague’s desk.
How to be extra annoying (and creepy): Follow your co-worker into the bathroom to continue your conversation with them there.

Of course, if you’re trying to get along with the people at your new job or internship, I’d suggest avoiding all of the above.

What co-worker attitudes or behaviors annoy you the most? Let us know in the comments.

Make Your School Year Great With These 4 Tips

campusWelcome Back! We’re hoping you have an amazing school year! Here are some really easy, but often forgotten, tips for making this year especially great.

Forward your school email account
If you don’t regularly check your school email account, remember to forward it to your primary account (the one you check regularly), or to set up your primary account to pull your school account’s emails. I know you probably get a LOT of email from your school that you don’t necessarily want flooding your regular account, but you can also miss a lot of important information and news if you’re not getting email from your school.

Meet with a career advisor
Whether you’re a first year student, an alum, or any year in between, talking with the folks at your career center early and often can be really useful. Get the most out of your appointment by doing a bit of preparation in advance. For example, have a list of questions ready, or write down a goal for the year and ask for help to achieve the goal. Most career centers can help with choosing a major, planning for longer term careers, finding internships, searching for jobs, applying to graduate school, and a lot more.

Continue reading Make Your School Year Great With These 4 Tips »

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