Why I Decided To Intern (again) After College
by Faith Riggs
I spent all of my winter nights scrolling endlessly through Indeed and LinkedIn trying to find what I believed to be my dream job. When it came to the job search, I was on top of it, submitting applications for more than six months in advance. I knew I wanted to be in a bigger city like New York or Chicago, but I also knew how competitive metropolitan markets were. I put in application after application and somehow still remained optimistic even when LinkedIn suggested I click to see how I compare to the other 250 applicants.
The shiny covetable entry-level career in fashion media and marketing is what I always chased after. It’s what I knew was meant to be and what I worked so hard for in undergrad. I thought my experience would speak for itself, but the process still remained so difficult. Some nights I found myself on a serious quest for the perfect studio in my dream city and after each submitted application and interview invite, my anticipation grew. Some interviews went well, some were difficult, and some I just knew I had but weren’t offered.
Facing rejection from so many of those jobs, months before graduation, was humbling, but realizing I may have to intern again felt like a misstep. The expectation from society and family is always to graduate and get a job in your field. Some are lucky to get hired on full-time from their summer positions, but others still have to develop more skills and experience beyond college.
My internship at EveryStylishGirl and assisting in social for a beauty brand has exposed me to an amazing network of women, and has nurtured my skills in ways I never imagined. I’ve learned so much during these past few months – the most important being that everyone’s post-grad journey looks different. It’s up to you to create your own blueprint for your career. This is my blueprint, and these are the five things I learned while interning after graduating.
1. Push through rejection
Rejection, for me, came in different forms. Some were generic emails from the company saying they’ve chosen a candidate, and some were from apologetic HR managers ensuring me I was talented and wishing me best of luck in my job search. I learned quickly that even when a company compliments your experience, it still stings when they don’t choose you. Instead of feeling down, I’m choosing to strengthen my experience to make myself an unforgettable candidate.
2. Don’t settle
I could have chosen to apply to jobs that weren't in my field, but I didn’t want to dedicate eight hours of my day at a job I wasn’t even interested in. It’s not mandatory to follow the traditional roadmap of getting a job. I’d rather use my time to sharpen my skills, and make myself a killer candidate that simply can’t be overlooked – this is exactly what I’m doing.
3. Find confidence in your skills
Not being in school has allowed me so much time to focus on securing everything I need to excel in a social media and content career. Through interning, working on my blog, and taking the time to research new techniques. I’m learning to identify areas that are strengths and weaknesses and work diligently on those areas. Through this, I’ve become more confident in my ability to learn and grow outside of the classroom and succeed in a business setting.
4. Find joy in the process
Life after graduating is unlike anything I’ve gone through. There are frustrating moments when I see friends tweeting about getting accepted to grad school or Instagramming an announcement about accepting a fancy sales job. Even scrolling through LinkedIn can send me into the wave of comparison. I’m learning to stand confident in my process and find joy in the small accomplishments at my internship and the small wins of running my own blog.
5. Avoid comparisons
A friend’s job-update should make me feel proud, but in a season where I’m still strengthening my skills it can feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’m learning to conquer comparison and to stand strong in my situation with full belief that my time will come, and when it does I’ll be fully prepared. I know that “no” does not mean “no,” it just means “not right now.”