Intern Life

Know What You’re Good at…and What You’re Not

Every person has a set of skills that they own and are known for. These are the skills that people come to you for, the ones you get recommended to, and the ones you enjoy doing. This list is equally matched with skills that you aren’t so gifted in. Don’t freak out, everyone has a weakness; not being a perfectionist is not a weakness but that’s a conversation for another day. Knowing what skills you are not strong in is a huge advantage when going after internships and jobs because these are the skills you can develop and hone.

No matter what your major, intended career path, or work history is, you have a skill set unique to you that shows off your strengths, experiences, and value. Make sure your skills set is diverse. Even if you’re a computer science major, your skills should not be solely computer science related. You are expected to have skills with HTML, javascript, etc. On top of these skills you should have experience in something like graphic design, copywriting; anything that set you apart from other computer science majors. Not only will this widen your internship/job search, but it makes you unique and more desirable than others in your field.

With that being said, have experience and knowledge in your major. If you don’t, an interviewer will question your dedication to that career path. There are plenty of computer science majors, English majors, even journalism majors. Why are you important? What skills do you posses that a typical student in that major does not? Basically, why should someone hire you instead of someone else?

You should always know your strengths, especially before any kind of interview. It seems like a lame, outdated question, but it’s an important one. Being able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses is difficult. Make sure you’re up front about your strengths, but especially your weaknesses. Knowing your strengths is just as important, if not more, than knowing your weaknesses.

Everyone has weaknesses. Your weaknesses aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Your weakness could be you take on too many tasks, or you don’t know how to ask for help. Or it could be something simple like not knowing the basics on Photoshop. Letting a future employer or interviewer know what your weaknesses are shows them that you’re confident in your abilities, but also that you are able to recognize what you aren’t good in. If you are willing to learn, they will be more than willing to help you. One of my weaknesses is that I take on too much, but in response to that I’m very skilled in organization. These two balance each other out, but I also let my old supervisor know. In response, she made sure to keep an updated Google document of my assignments and due dates so I could keep a schedule and list of all my assignments. An employer or supervisor will not look down upon you because you have weaknesses. Instead they will try to accommodate or work through them with you. In the end, you could gain a new skill and they could gain a new organizational tool.

How to know what your skills are and what aren’t: you just know. If you have trouble editing video, but are able to edit audio easily, your skill is audio editing and you aren’t as skilled in video editing. If you have difficulty doing one thing or are never able to complete a specific project or task fully, that is what you are not skilled in. Having weaknesses or things you aren’t skilled in are not the end of the world. Knowing what these are will help you in the long run. You now know what areas you need to work on and gain more experience in. You can take an internship that relates to your major and ask for a task or assignment with a skill you aren’t strong in. Your supervisor will work alongside you so you can learn and gain experience. You won’t learn anything or get better without practice.

Keep a mental list, or make an actual list. Know what your skills are and what they aren’t, this will benefit you in the long run with any internships or jobs, trust me. Part of being an adult and a professional is knowing what these are, but also knowing that you have control over what these are. Whether you’re a student intern or you have a full-time job, you will always be learning, gaining new skills, and practicing.

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Emily Kong

Emily Kong is a self-proclaimed foodie, to-do list fanatic, coffee obsessed writer and feminist. She spends her time sipping coffee, devouring novels, and dreaming of adventures. In between city hopping, Kong writes for other publications, her  WordPress, and little 140 character quirks on  Twitter.