How To Be The Best Damn Intern I Ever Hired

I was recently asked to guest post over at YouTern‘s Savvy Intern blog, partially because I’ve done three internships myself, and partially because I’m the intern coordinator at YourTango. Why yes. I am a huge proponent of interns… whether or not you’re still in college!

Here’s an excerpt of my guest post:

Forget my degree. My resume. Even my (pretty darn awesome) cover letters.

My three internships are what got me where I am today.

The first one established what would come to be my primary writing niche. The second led to my first full-time job in the publishing industry. The third opened the doors to the magazine publishing world. From all three, I gained experience, contacts, and a deeper knowledge of what I did (and didn’t) want to do with my life.

And now I’m the internship coordinator.

It feels bizarre to have the tables so thoroughly turned. In some ways, I relish this role. As someone who also runs her own career coaching business, I obviously enjoy having the chance to nurture young word nerds.

But other times, I find myself disappointed. While my coaching clients value my services enough to pay for them, many interns don’t seem to value their internships in quite the same way. Instead, they look at them as a quick way to get college credit, or as an item to place on their resume… nothing more.

When I was an intern, I rocked the house. And not because I’m any smarter — or any more talented — than anyone else. No. I rocked the house because I was terrified of letting my supervisors down. And because I was hungry for a career within the publishing industry, and was willing to do whatever it took to make it.

So how can you rock the internship house, too?

Start off strong. In one interview, an applicant revealed that her mother had criticized her cover letter, telling her it should have been more formal. “Nonsense,” I said. “Your cover letter is the reason I’m interviewing you.” Why? Not only did it show personality, but it reflected the tone of the publication, a characteristic that bespoke a familiarity with our publication… or was at least a sign that she’d done her homework. Speaking of homework, come to your interview prepared to ask us questions. Your questions display your preparation, and also illustrate a genuine interest in the internship, the company, and the industry at large.

To read more, head on over here.

For more on internships, check out these previous posts of mine:


  1. Great post—and I second you on “forget my degree.” I had the same great fortune with my three internships. At the first, I made contacts and friends that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without. At the second, I published my first print piece. The third turned into my first job (sans resume or interview process). Internships are the best way to get your foot in the door, by far.


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