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January 9, 2024

A Foot In The Door

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Internships get a lot of buzz among college students and young professionals. I’ve had many conversations with friends about where we’re hoping to work and how we all “need to spruce up our resumes” for the impending job hunt. Every year, like clockwork, the attention among my peers shifts from our final projects and exams to summer internships.
Everyone is responsible for themselves, sure, but I can never shake the feeling that we are all in it together. We are chasing after ways to bring our aspirations just a bit closer. There’s a sense of victory if you score big at a company others recognize, a sobering defeat if you never get an interview and humble contentment to get anything at all.
The first thing you might learn from an internship is that you may not be the hot commodity you have hoped companies will recognize you as. The next lesson is perseverance, because rejection and every tweak to your resume could bring you closer to landing a better position. It can be both daunting and exciting at times, but rightfully so. Internships are the first step you take on the career path of your choice. They’re the transition from working a summer job at the community pool and that “first job” that will precede the rest of your career.
Just having an internship on your resume signals to future employers that this person has the experience and skills for the position they need to fill. It’s tangible proof that you can be a viable addition to the team. And even after you get the internship, there’s still more to be gained. They say the entertainment industry isn’t about what you know; it’s about who you know—and that’s true for a lot more industries than people realize. That next job or that next opportunity for growth could be right behind one relationship or another. I’ve seen many of my upperclassmen go from interns to full-time positions by maintaining a good relationship with their supervisors. Twice as many of my peers have secured other internships because they were clued in on them by their colleagues.
While internships can serve as that foot in the door and as resume-builders, their most valuable attribute is how they provide young professionals the opportunity to learn while in a workplace environment. I learned about workflow, team synergy, effective communication, professionalism, organization, and myriad soft skills that I’ll carry with me into not only my future career but my personal endeavors as well.
I would argue internships are more than a good idea for students; they’re a necessity for the cultivation of the next generation of professionals. The lessons, the opened doors, the tips and tricks are vital to becoming successful in any career and at times can make all the difference between getting by—and thriving.
Bryan Crowe Jr., 21, is from Woodbridge, Virginia, and a film major at Syracuse University. He interned this summer at BET Networks and is pursuing a career in writing and producing films and television series.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2022 issue of WayMaker Journal.