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If your internship position doesn’t line up with your current career pursuits or understanding of the industry that you are pursuing. What risk are there if you can’t find motivation to focus and learn from these situations?

#internships #career #technology #computer

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Subject: Career question for you

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Carolyn’s Answer

Hello Jose, this is a great question. A lot of times we focus on the the functional work that we do, so meaning if you are in an Technology-focused internship, but are actually looking to become a biologist. Sometimes we lose sight of the value of professional skills. Regardless of the specific work function that you are doing in your internship, there is always the opportunity to focus on your professional skills, such as networking & branding, communication skills, time management & prioritization, conflict management, etc. I would suggest that you focus on these types of skills while building your network. Meet with as many people as you can to learn about what they do, what made them successful and be sure to add them to your professional network on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Good luck!
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Sunny’s Answer

Hi Jose,

I think any internship position is valuable and worthwhile even if it is not related to your career pursuits. Internships are great opportunities to get to know industries and learn how business is done in real life. Also, while you are shadowing your seniors, you will see how their team handles difficulties and finishes the work on time. I would recommend to be open-minded to any tasks and trainings and try to get the best out of it until your internship ends.

I understand it might not be as easy as it sounds, but I think you will feel better if you give your 100% during your internship.

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tonni’s Answer

I agree with Carolyn above. Anytime you have an internship, whether or not you feel it's relevant to what you want to do long-term, its your opportunity to learn important skills that you can take into any career, and it's an opportunity to get recommendations and make connections that can help you long-term. You can learn something in any role, if nothing else you're learning to face adversity and to perserve when you're not enjoying what you do. This is a very important theme in life and career. You should get yourself motivated around learning everything you can where you are and in developing skills you can take with you to your next role. A things to consider:

1) It takes time to determine what you'd like to do. Many of us start a job, disklike it at first but grow to enjoy it over time. Sometimes it takes time to determine if it's the right fit, so you should always give something a try for a while (6 months to a year) before ruling it out.

2) Connections you form anywhere know people and can make finding another job easy for you. You may be working at a vet clinic and the doctor has a neighbor who manages a sales team at a tech company you'd like to interview with. If you haven't taken your work seriously there, that person wouldn't make a connection to someone else they know. If instead you work really hard and have an honest conversation towards the end of your internship about what you'd really like to do and how appreciative you were to your manager for helping you to develop skills that will translate, that person may want to help you find the role you want.

3) Most of us hiring mangers look for someone who is hardworking, highly self-motivated and dedicated to what they do whether or not they enjoy every part of the job over someone with all the relevant experience. Long-term in your career even in your dream job there will always be parts of your job you don't enjoy. How you act when you don't like what you're doing is telling about the type of employee you'll be and employers know that. I'd never hire on my team someone I knew slacked off in another job even if that role wasn't the right fit for them.

tonni recommends the following next steps:

I recommend writing out what your goals are long-term then thinking through with a mentor what skills you could gain in your existing internship to help you achieve your long term goals.
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John’s Answer

The risk would be that if you are not interested in the field, you may not pay attention and learn the processes that you can you across all fields. How to engage peers, managers, subordinates, how to network with other people to find the job and field that you are truly interested in. I started out in the warehouse, and have had many promotions and job changes at Dell. I have travelled the world on business trips, presented to top CEOs, and have met many wonderful people. I never would have dreamed this would happen, but hard work and a strong work-ethic definitely pays off!
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Jorge’s Answer

I have the strong belief that you can learn from anyone and from everything, even if it has nothing to do with your current career.

You can get all the structure you need to get a proper introduction into professional practices and also you can learn how different corporations work with their own processes. Take advantage of everything and try to create a big network, you never know when you will be needing someone's help.

As mentioned in other comments, you can start developing skills you consider can help you in the future or that can be applied to any aspect of your personal or professional life.

And you never know, maybe you can find something nice and different where you may be interested in developing your professional career.
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Jonathan’s Answer

Jose,

As a hiring manager, one of the questions I will ask is "Describe a situation where your project was unsuccessful and what were your actions as a result." I am not really interested in the details of the project or even the failure. What I am looking to understand is how the candidate handles adversity. Can they make "lemonade from lemons." This is applicable to your situation in that you find yourself having taken an internship that was not in-line with you goals. How you handle this adversity will influence how future managers view you. I agree with much of the advise already. Take this opportunity to learn anything you can. You never know when an experience in one role will help you with a similar situation in another role in a completely different field. Find he the motivation by finding those indirect benefits and maximizing them. Good luck!
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Mandy’s Answer

Biggest risk in not engaging at your internship would be missing out on the opportunity to build professional contacts, reputation, and learning how businesses work in your early career.
Even if you are not necessarily interested in that field, there is a lot to learn in internships. You develop a work ethic (do you show up on time? Know how to be professional? Can you work as a team? Etc.)
More so, professional recommendations from internships go a long way. Most jobs will ask for references when you are in final interview stages, and having people from previous internships speak to your work ethic and professionalism as an intern is really valuable.
I did several media internships in college and even though I no longer work in media, those internships helped build a foundation for my career through my contacts and projects I chose to work on!
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