Monday, June 13, 2011

Being an intern doesn’t mean administrative aide

A large amount of internships are what students call “file cabinet jobs.” We are lured to these internships by well-known corporations with the promise of gaining vast experience and materials for our portfolios.

Some students spend years with a company that does not allow them to use their learned skills. It is important, especially in this job market, to find an organization that adds to your knowledge.

This issue is not always the company’s fault though. Many students are under the falsification that the bigger the company, the better the resume’ builder. From my experience, those mogul internships sound impressive, but what do they add to a portfolio? Again, from my experience, unless you can photograph filing papers and entering data into a computer there isn’t much you can add to a portfolio.

This year I will be a senior at Central Michigan University studying public relations and public policy. For my profession, internships are key in that they determine whether an organization will hire you in the future.

In 2008, I entered the world of internships. I didn’t do this because I had to, as I was only a freshman in college; I did this because I wanted experience. To my dismay, my first two internships were “file cabinet jobs.”

This time I knew I had to search for a company or organization that hired interns because they actually wanted the assistance. I searched for weeks until I found my current internship.

When I was offered the position with the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, I had a feeling I was finally going to get away from the file cabinet. The public relations and marketing materials were extremely impressive and I knew I could gain a lot of experience from this organization.

My first task was to give my input on their website on how they could make it more user friendly. I was blown away. For the first time someone actually appreciated my input and not my filing ability. The even more shocking part was that the organization used my suggestions.

It is rare to find a company that respects the knowledge and experiences of an intern. All four individuals on this mighty team have shown more respect and interest in my ideas than any place I have ever worked for. The word mighty may be an understatement as their dedication to the chamber is second to none.

I have been with the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber for just over a month now and couldn’t be more pleased. Since then I have had the opportunity to write, design, and collaborate on publicized materials as well as attend events. I have also met dozens of community leaders providing a great avenue for networking.

It is internships like this one that are needed by so many students, by available to only a small number. To all of the students out there searching for the perfect internship, don’t play a part in the generation of exploited workers. Take the time to investigate your organization and know what they want from you.

By: Vincent Cavataio

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