Aspiring interns are constantly drilled with the same concepts: experience is everything, network constantly, constantly revise your resume, and highlight your skills. This is the supposed magic potion at landing a dream internship, but one key element is repeatedly looked over when preparing for interviews.
We talk a lot about the value of a PeopleOps internship, and the importance of gaining real experience through internships. Interns need to consider what value a potential opportunity holds for them specifically, and how they can convey that to internship coordinators.
While internships can help you further understand concepts developed through higher education, they can also launch you into new opportunities. Are there non-traditional areas of your industry that intrigue you? Are there skills and responsibilities you're interested in but have yet to encounter? If you land in an organization focused on employee development, your internship may be the perfect chance to expand your horizons.
So, as you slave over building the perfect first impression, stop to consider the skills and tools you want to build through an internship. This expresses to employers you have not only succeeded in the past, but you plan to build a strong future. You may not know exactly where you want to take your career, but pointing to new skills or experiences you want to gain is a great way to demonstrate that you are thinking ahead.
More importantly, taking ownership of this will help steer your experience and the skills you gain during your time with the company. Seek out new projects during your internship. Exercise your creativity. Don’t be afraid to engage with experienced colleagues and upper management. You never know what types of skills you may acquire by taking the initiative, thinking outside of the box and offering to help!