The Intern Inside Scoop: Emerge & Shoe Revolt

No matter where you fall on the debate as to whether or not unpaid internships take advantage of young people and students, it can’t be denied that internships, paid and unpaid alike, can help propel your career. To read more about the debate over internships check this out from the New York Times.

As we approach spring, undergraduate and graduate students begin to get that anxious feeling – what am I going to do this summer?!? We’ve all been there and it’s stressful. But it’s also full of excitement and potential. Internships can help shape the trajectory of our careers.

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Because of this we asked some of the companies with current postings on Give To Get Jobs to tell us a little about their past experiences searching for internships, as an intern and what they look for in their interns.

Here’s some insight from our friend Ashley Lorden at Emerge:

What kind of internships have you had in the past and what were the skills you gained from these internships that you use today?

As a student I had a number of internships, volunteer roles, and temporary jobs, mostly inthe nonprofit sector. There are a few that stand out. I spent a summer working in the office of my local United Way, which I had previously served as a volunteer for, where I learned that in both a non-profit and a small office, and more so in both, everyone has many different skills to contribute and being willing to give anything your best shot can bring great results. Working as a political canvasser showed me that smart people can be great at anything, and work harder than they thought possible, if they feel passionately enough about what they’re supporting. An experience creating a volunteer role for myself at the Clinton Global Climate Initiative brought to light that what you get out of an internship is more strongly correlated with your own initiative than anything else. From all of these and others, one of the most important things I learned was how to be a positive part of a work environment: what to wear, what to say, how to eat your lunch. These do matter! In addition I was able to practice skills that I now use in my job, from operating multi-line phones, management of websites and Google apps, and Office software, to working with diverse people and prioritizing what your boss thinks is most important. One thing I didn’t learn as an intern was about my weaknesses — perhaps my managers and reviewers tried to soften constructive criticism too much. It’s something I’ve learned more about since starting a regular full-time job.

What does Emerge look for in interns?

Apart from being able to offer immediately useful hard skills, which is great for every type of applicant, I think gaining a competitive internship in the nonprofit and social enterprise world has a lot to do with credibility. The #1 thing we recruit for is passion for our social mission. Stating that you’re excited about the organization at the top of your cover letter is key, but it’s not enough to get you the position. You have to make it believable, by stating the reasons this social goal is important in your life, and show your commitment by having worked for related causes in the past. It adds to your credibility to show how your personal life relates — do you volunteer or help in other ways on the evenings and weekends, or do you stop recycling as soon as you leave the office? None of this is a prerequisite; everyone has to start somewhere. But it does bring you to the top of the pack as a candidate.

Do you have any specific advice for people seeking internships today in social enterprises?

I hope that students today who hope to work in social enterprise live their beliefs; in this way they will be able to start solving social problems right away, and better position themselves for jobs and internships in the field. And, I really hope that all of the candidates we invite to interview have researched our organization and are prepared to answer questions about why they want to work with us!

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Ashley highlighted to us that internships were important for her in transitioning from being a student to being in the workforce. She individually and Emerge as a company are enthusiastic about helping their own interns gain practical skills, experience and guidance in their own transitions from studying to working. Read more about the current internship opening at Emerge here, especially if you are in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Read more about Emerge here.

 

Here’s some more insight from our friend Ateba Crocker at Shoe Revolt:

What kind of interns have you had in the past?

Creative, fun and committed to the mission interns.

What are the skills needed to intern with Shoe Revolt?

Creative, self starter, and because it’s a virtual position you have to know how to get things done on your own.

Do you have any specific advice for people seeking internships today in social enterprises?

Be selective, don’t just settle for handing out fliers or talking on phones in a telemarketing capacity. Look for internships that have you actually doing real life work that you can put on your resume and that can open doors for you after graduating. Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility or to take on a task that no one wants or that you know nothing about. This is your chance to learn, grow and spread your wings in real life corporate America.

Most importantly, be confident and don’t feel like you are less than. Pick an internship that makes you feel like your a pivotal part of the team. You should be appreciated, not getting someone’s coat or coffee.

What’s it like to intern at Shoe Revolt?

I love my interns and really I don’t call them interns, they are a part of the Shoe Revolt family.

Every intern I put on my website under team and assign them a title. My team may rotate out every season, but that doesn’t matter, once a part of my team always part of my team if you do a good job and respect Shoe Revolt’s policies and procedures. Show moral conviction in your internship by always doing what’s right for the organization or company you represent.

When an intern volunteers with Shoe Revolt I ask them what they want to learn or do. Then I ask them to create a title and brief description for their team role. I give them the power to shine and to be who they were created to be. Sometimes they don’t know- but by the end– they do!  That’s the part I really love seeing my team member soar from here to new heights. Now that’s an internship.

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Shoe Revolt has four internships open right now: Prospect Research Intern, Media Relations Internship, Social Media Internship, and Shoe-raiser Internships. Shoe Revolt has interns all across the country, so no matter where you are based there could be an opportunity waiting for you.

A big thank you to Ashley and Ateba for sharing some of your own personal stories and insight about what internships can really be about. Coming soon we’ll share some of our stories about internship experiences we’ve had in the past. But for now check out all the internships currently posting in our career center and get started on building your own future career and professional success. Because:

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