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Intern Diaries: The “Aha!” Moment of Career Discovery

July 10, 2012

Alexa is a rising senior at Lehigh University studying psychology and journalism. As the creator of the twitter, @WorkWhimsy, and current Talent Acquisition intern at Scholastic in NYC, Alexa is a true believer in making the most of internship experiences.

AlexaProcaccino headshot 150x150 Intern Diaries: The Aha! Moment of Career DiscoveryBy Alexa Procaccino

I had a huge “aha moment” when I was 17 years old and interning at a local design magazine in New Jersey. I had caught a bad case of senioritis and decided to apply to my high school’s internship program to spice up my senior year. Frankly, I was confused about why the program was so small when it had the huge perk of missing school one day per week. When I got placed at my internship with the design magazine, I was absolutely amazed. How could these editors and copywriters at a real magazine actually be giving me real tasks to do? I was so young, but I was doing such cool things that I never thought possible. This taste of actual work experience made my appetite for internships insatiable. Ever since that first experience, I’ve wanted to try absolutely every type of job out through internships. To me, internships are just about the best deal ever. When in the real world is it okay to have a pure learning experience and test out a job for 8-10 weeks? Never.

“My amazing discovery is that I 100% want to work on a talent acquisition team one day as a recruiter.”

Since my senior year in high school, I’ve had five internships, one virtual internship and one externship. After doing a few local internships, some around my school and one abroad, I decided that this summer was going to be my big time, New York City internship experience. I felt ready and had a plan. I started searching for internships in September of last year just to get a head start on the whole process. Internships.com was an integral part in my search. I signed up for the internship alerts, took the Internship Predictor and checked the site just about every day looking for an opportunity in New York City that interested me. Finally, in March, after all of my hard work, I got an e-mail for a job interview in Scholastic Inc. in New York City and landed the job. Like I said before, I’ve had other internships in a couple different fields, but nothing felt right until this one as the Talent Acquisition intern for Scholastic. I’m going to officially dub my internship this summer as my second “aha moment”. I know that I’m really enjoying the work I’ve been doing and the people are just about some of the best I’ve ever met. My amazing discovery is that I 100% want to work on a talent acquisition team one day as a recruiter.

This revelation confirms my true belief in internships. By trying out a bunch of different jobs, I figured out what I was passionate about and what I wasn’t. I’m so grateful that I had these intern experiences early on, because if I hadn’t, I probably would have had too many career changes than actually acceptable.

“On WorkWhimsy, I tweet all of the resources that I found so helpful during my search, while also combining it with my newfound love for Talent Acquisition (thanks to my current internship)…”

My entire past year has been spent reading articles, using Internships.com as my search tool, and constantly sprucing up my resume and writing different cover letters. I realized that I genuinely really enjoyed the entire search process and thought — Why not start a Twitter account where I tweet all of the great job and internship postings I’ve come across, the articles I’ve read, and resume tips I’ve learned? I’m a firm believer in creating your own opportunities, so WorkWhimsy was born that next day. On WorkWhimsy, I tweet all of the resources that I found so helpful during my search, while also combining it with my newfound love for Talent Acquisition (thanks to my current internship) by posting jobs and internships, and just tweeting tips that I’ve learned from all of my diverse internship experiences.

I hope that other students experience the same “aha moment” through their internships. They truly are priceless learning experiences. My advice to you during your internship search (Fall 2012 internship application due dates are coming up!) is to make sure you stay persistent. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from companies. However, you should always follow up after you apply and also see who you know in your network. Literally tell everyone you know that you’re trying to get an internship at X company. You never know who knows who! Also, use the amazing Internships.com internship alert tool I mentioned before to get up-to-date alerts on new postings that might spark your interest!

Feel free to tweet me any questions you may have! We’re all in this together. Happy interning!

Thanks Alexa, that is great advice, and a pretty amazing testament to the power of an internship! Readers, share your internship “aha moment” below.

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