InternView: I Discovered My Career Through My Internship
Highlighting her experiences as an intern, Shelcy Joseph offers some great advice on the best practices to implement during your internship. Shelcy is a student at Hunter College and a marketing intern at Hearst Publications. Shelcy shared her story in this interview conducted by Jane Horowitz, More Than A Resumé.
Did you have specific career plans when you started college?
I had a few detours before I decided to pursue psychology. I began college with a plan to major in chemistry and continue on to pharmacy school or perhaps pursue a career in physical therapy. I quickly realized these were not the right career paths for me and started to explore other options, which led me to psychology. I was always interested in understanding human behavior, and I could see that psychology has real-world applications. Pursuing my degree, I discovered my interest in the field of communications and started acquiring experience in social media, marketing and public relations through internships. My internships led me to the path I’m on now. I feel constantly challenged and it feeds my love of learning.
Where did you develop your love of learning?
My parents always instilled in me an attitude of keeping an open-mind, finding the positive in situations and learning not just in school, but in all you do throughout your entire life. These lessons were particularly valuable after the earthquake in Haiti. I had always planned to go to college in the U.S., but the earthquake destroyed the school system and we moved to New York where I completed the last two years of high school. I know I can overcome anything by turning negative experiences into positive lessons and facing challenges head-on.
What experience prepared you to start your internship?
I’ve had two internships prior to interning in the public relations department at Hearst Publications. The first was working in a neuroscience lab at Rockefeller University as a social media intern and then interning in marketing and communications at AARP. These two internships made me realize that I was able to merge all my interests—writing, research and social media engagement. Through the internship at Rockefeller University, I became more confident in writing and presenting and I learned how to translate the scientific language of neuroscience in ways that marketers could understand and use. I learned where I fit in which I know helped me get the internship at Hearst.
What steps did you take to make sure you developed and learned skills from your internship?
I like to challenge myself and believe it’s my responsibility to learn new skills and grow, so literally I did everything. Opportunities will not always come to you so you often have to go after them. I asked for more work at all my internships and proved myself capable of taking on any assignment. I made myself indispensable to the team.
What actions have you taken to turn your internship into a full-time position?
Hearst doesn’t hire interns right away unless there’s an opening they qualify for, therefore interns need to stay in touch and find out when an opportunity arises. I will stay in contact with my supervisors and as soon as position opens, I will apply. I love the work and the people I’ve worked with at Hearst. Regardless of what happens, I know from this experience that I want to pursue a career in communications. As a public relations intern, I’ve gained experience in research, social media, video production, pitching stories to the media, tracking and analyzing trends, writing reports and more. These skills are adaptable to any industry.
What advice do you have for college students who are interning this summer?
One of the most important lessons I learned was to never underestimate the people you meet and the value of building a solid network. Start with your co-workers; people you can share information with and learn from, and then expand both inside and outside the company.
Keep your focus on learning and not just on your resumé. It’s essential to find ways in your internships to challenge yourself, create opportunities you can learn from and then share the information with others.
Go into an internship with an open mind. This will allow you to embrace all aspects of the experience and overcome any obstacle.
Do you have internship advice to share with your peers? Please submit your request for an interview at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include your college, major and graduation year.