As a college student and former intern, I know that I had many misconceptions about what an internship consisted of before I actually started one. Now that I know better, I sort of cringe when people voice the same uninformed opinions about what an internship consists of. Based on what I learned during my experience, I would like to put some of these myths about internships to rest.
It’s an Intern’s Job to Get Coffee and Answer Phones
For an unpaid internship, this is 100% false. Because of the fact that it’s illegal for someone to work for free, internships have different rules. Interns are to be taught about the job they’re shadowing in an educational setting. An intern can answer a phone and run copies once in awhile, for educational purposes, but overall they are not allowed to do the job of paid staff.
Interns Do Not Get Any of the Same Benefits as an Employee
It depends on the company, and it depends on the benefit. Sure, an intern isn’t going to get health care or anything like that. However, they could still qualify for perks such as employee discounts and other programs the company has in place for motivating their employees.
All Internships are for College Credit and Unpaid
I have applied for, and not gotten, many paid internships. These are usually reserved for seniors who just graduated over summer vacation, but there are some available for other levels of education, too. However, these are super competitive positions, so you really need to stand out to get one. Having done an unpaid internship at the company and making a good impression, for example, could be beneficial.
You Have to Know Someone to Get an Internship
You don’t have to know somebody to get an internship. I didn’t know anybody when I got mine. Of course, I was lucky. I had a resumé full of usable work experience, and had participated in leadership opportunities within my field of study. However, it doesn’t hurt to know somebody, and this is also probably why many schools have programs to help their students get internships. If you can rack up work experience and demonstrate that you can go above and beyond as a student, though, then you have a shot at landing that internship without knowing somebody.
I absolutely enjoyed my internship. It was fun, and I got to meet a lot of great people as I gained experience in the field that I hope to work in. I even got the opportunity to participate in an event that was held for employees only that was a blast. In fact, I hope to complete another internship in the future. Because of my internship experience, however, I did learn that some of the myths I believed were just that – myths.