Money & Career
Want to Land That Dream Job?
5/4/2017 10:25:52 PM

No matter what your college major and desired career, jobs can be hard to come by. How do you break into an in-demand industry? According to entrepreneur Emily White, your dream career is within your reach. But if you want it, be ready to work for it. Internships can be a key step.

"Career success -- especially in a competitive industry -- often comes down to the relationships you have cultivated and possessing an ironclad work ethic,” says White, cofounder and CEO of Whitesmith Entertainment and author of the book Interning 101. "If you don’t know anybody in your desired field, you have to build your own connections. Internships can be your ticket to that opportunity.”

Internships provide an incredible opportunity to discover what your desired industry is like in reality. The more you intern, the more you learn. "Interning also gives you a great sense of your specific niche within the industry,” says White. "It’s just as important to figure out what you do want to do in life, as what you don’t want to do.”

Interning 101 is full of essential advice for students or recent graduates who want to follow their passion and make inroads into their dream industry. To this day, White employs the advice covered in her book to help her stay focused on high-level projects, be on top of industry trends and communications, and strive to find innovative and creative solutions. 

White offers these five tips to help you secure and excel in the internships that will further your career.

Start interning early and cast a wide net. 

First, identify at least five organizations within your fields of choice where you would like to intern. Plan to do multiple internships and begin as early as possible (some internships are offered to high school students). Immersion greatly increases your aptitude within the field, ensures your skills are up to date, and expands your network -- all of which heighten your chances of ultimately landing an ideal job.

Take every possible opportunity to WORK. Here’s a general guideline to remember at your internship: Do everything that is asked of you (within ethical reason, of course) and do all of the things you say you will do. Reliability is the hallmark of a really good worker and a great intern. When you stick to your word and get quality work done, you will stand out and be remembered, and eventually you will be noticed within your field of choice.

Go above and beyond what is expected. If you’ve accomplished your assigned tasks for the day and have extra time, ask if there’s anything else you can do or if you can help someone else. Always ask before doing anything, but figure out how to make yourself indispensable to the company and team. If they can’t function without you, why would they let someone else hire you when you’re ready to take on a full-time job?

Commit now to the smart habits you’re creating. Know that between school, your internships, a part-time job, and social time, you are developing world-class time management skills. Your busy schedule right now will be a huge benefit to your future adult responsibilities like commuting, grocery shopping, doing household tasks, managing a social life, and working full-time. Rest assured, the work ethic and efficient time management skills you develop early on will pay off big time for your career and life in the long run. So stay busy and stay responsible.

Take care of yourself. It’s hard to do your best work or stand out from the crowd when you’re under-rested, hungover, or feeling generally lethargic, lazy, and sluggish. On the other hand, people perform best when they are of sound mind, body, and spirit. So be sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and move your body enough to stay healthy and capable of handling your workload and schedule.

"If you feel like a needle in a haystack full of talented and ambitious people like yourself, you’re right,” says White. "But internships can be the key to rising to the top of the heap and building the career you desire. When you shine in your internships, people take notice and word will spread.”

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