By Guest Blogger Lauren Berger
I cannot reiterate the importance of encouraging young people to intern in college and high school.
My internships have been the most valuable workplace experiences I’ve ever had. The first internship I accepted was the spring semester of my freshman year in college – this was much earlier than my friends and peers. The reason I got started on my internship journey was simple – my mom. See, I have your typical Jewish mother from Brooklyn who makes sure that her voice is heard. She is strong and has guts – something I’ve been fortunate enough to inherit from her.
When I went away to college, my friends and I were focused on a few things: namely drinking, boys, sorority life, and football games. College life was all about the parties, the relationships, sometimes the classes – but never about the future. As a young person attending one of the largest universities in the country, there wasn’t exactly a particular person looking after your best interest. I was lucky that my mom tried so hard to get through to me. She always called, always reminded me to check out interesting television segments and newspaper articles, but most importantly – she told me about internships.
My mom saw a segment on the Today Show in 2002 about internships. Some of her personal friends had kids that were interning over the summer. She thought I should check it out. Like any college freshman girl, I had better things to do (or so I thought). But my mom, in her true nature, kept reminding me about these internships and encouraging me to go to the career center to see what they were all about. “Wouldn’t that be neat to work in an office and learn under one of those top executives?” she would say, trying to get me excited about my future. I was uninterested, but for my mother’s sake, I walked into the career center to see what interning was all about.
Alright, this didn’t look so bad after all! There was one internship that looked very interesting, but that was clearly hard to get. It was at an advertising and public relations firm and I was told they only accepted seniors. I told my mom about this hard-to-nail internship, and she asked me what I was going to do. I told her I would try.
And try I did! I learned not to take no for an answer (thank you mom) and that when people put obstacles in front of you – you learn to overcome them. I cold-called the company, introduced myself, and explained that I was interested in an internship. My one year in college didn’t come up in the conversation. The internship coordinator at the company told me to send over my resume and cover letter and she would consider my application. That night, I put together a resume and cover letter (with only my part-time job and volunteer experience) and pressed send on the email.
The very next morning, I received a call from the internship coordinator… she told me she was impressed. I didn’t know why. She explained that she’d never received a resume within 24 hours of requesting it. She was impressed with my quick follow up, the fact that I would apply for a senior internship position with little work experience, and she offered me an interview.
The very next day, I went in for the interview. I learned about the company before I walked through the door. I went in prepared, educated on their business, aware of their mission statement and who their clients were. Well, I got the internship offer! The woman looked at me and said, “You seem unstoppable, Lauren.” I call this my “click moment.” It made me realize that I could go after anyting I wanted in life. That I was in control of my own destiny. It felt invigorating. This internship also taught me that college wasn’t only about boys, parties, and football games – I needed to focus on my future and think about the professional that I wanted to be. My internship made me understand that.
My purpose of today’s blog is to encourage you, to please encourage your kids, high school and college, to seek opportunities that help them with their future. If my mom hadn’t kept calling me, I’m not sure where I’d be today.
Thank you, mom.
About Lauren Berger
Business Week Magazine named Lauren Berger number 5 on their annual list of Young Entrepreneurs 25 Under 25. America Online says, “If you are going to college and wondering what you are going to do this summer – you need to look her up.” Mobile Youth has placed her in the top 10 Youth Marketing Minds of 2010.
Lauren Berger is CEO of InternQueen.com, an online internship destination that helps students find and apply for internships while also educating them on how to make the most of their experiences.
Today, Berger is an author, international speaker, spokesperson, and runs www.InternQueen.com. Berger works with over 1,000 employers worldwide, connecting them with some of the most ambitious high school and college interns on the planet. Berger’s website reaches over 80,000 different students, parents, and employers each month. She has connected thousands of students with the internships of their dreams. Berger has spoken to thousands of high school & college students at over 50 colleges & universities in 20 different states.
Berger’s book, ALL WORK NO PAY: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience, was released January 3, 2012 worldwide. She was recently feature on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, and Bloomberg.com.
In her spare time, Lauren loves traveling, spending time with friends & family, and catching up on her DVR!
We’d love to know, have your kids ever interned? Would you encourage your kids to intern after reading this article? The ON THE FENCE QUESTION: At what point is parental involvement necessary, and at what point do you let your kids create their own life and make their own decisions.