When starting your career, securing an internship at a prestigious company can be your ticket to success. Scoring a spot in the internship programs at Google, The New York Times, Walt Disney or the White House can make your resume stand out to recruiters and get you in the door at major companies moving forward. But interning for a star company isn't the only way to start a great career. While it certainly helps your resume get noticed, it's the responsibilities listed under the company name that really distinguish one candidate from another. A famous internship is sure to guarantee a second look at your resume, but there are many ways to get the type of learning experience that is so essential for students.
Interning at a small company or nonprofit organization can be just as valuable to your resume as an internship somewhere big and well known. Interns at a smaller company often gain hands-on experience and are intimately involved with the inner-workings of the organization. By interacting with a small group of people, participating in company meetings and working on real projects, you'll be able to add great experience to your resume. So if you can't get an all-star internship, don't worry. This summer, instead of getting coffee or making copies at a more prestigious company, try creating an advertising campaign for actual clients or starting your own local painting business in one of the lesser-known internship programs featured in the Vault Guide to Top Internships. Their names may not stand out, but completing an internship at one of these companies is bound to get you noticed, no matter what you decide to do after graduation.
So start thinking outside of the box. To help your search, here's a list of the top 10 internships you've probably never heard of.
American & International Designs
Founded by Susan Arann in 1980, American & International Designs is an interior design firm specializing in residential and commercial projects, including hospitals, restaurants and hotels. A great way to break into the interior design industry, interns at American & International Designs take part in all aspects of project management, including client meetings and process consultations. According to Arann, interns in her Staten Island, N.Y., office do "anything and everything."
Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center
Interns at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center in Breckenridge, Colo., are involved in both the planning and implementation of activities for children and adults with disabilities and special needs. According to BOEC administrators, interns are given "an unlimited amount of responsibility," including serving as instructors for ropes courses, skiing and white water rafting.
The Shattuck Fellowship Program at BowTie provides interns with hands-on experience in the publishing industry. With offices in California, New Jersey, Kentucky and Illinois, BowTie is a leading producer of materials for those who love animals, including veterinarians, breeders and consumers. BowTie interns work closely with publishing executives, participate in team meetings and even have the opportunity to write articles. For students looking to break into the competitive publishing industry, an internship at BowTie can be a step in the right direction.
College Works Painting and Student Works Painting
College Works Painting (USA) and Student Works Painting (Canada) hires and trains students to manage their own local house painting businesses for the summer. Students run all aspects of the business, including marketing, sales and customer relations. Besides gaining invaluable entrepreneurial experience, interns have the potential to earn up to $30,000 for the summer!
Founded in 1990, EdVenture Partners allows students to collaborate with real-world companies to develop and implement marketing strategies on their college campuses. Students work with well-known clients, including Coca-Cola, Toyota and People magazine to implement promotional campaigns, conduct market research and create press releases. You may not be able to score an internship with one of those prestigious companies, but working at EdVenture can be just as beneficial.
Maine State Music Theatre
Located in Brunswick, Maine, this nonprofit theater gives interns an inside look into the performing arts industry. By requiring all interns to work in areas other than their expertise, students are able to learn all aspects of theater, including stage management, wardrobe, carpentry and props. Interns are also involved in marketing the performances to the public and even put on their own production at the end of the summer.
The Martin Agency
An advertising agency located in Richmond, Va., The Martin Agency provides a comprehensive internship program known as Martin's Student Workshop program. Under the supervision of an agency professional, interns works in teams of five to create an ad campaign for a real client. At the end of the program, interns present their plan to agency executives and client representatives.
Located in owner Ginny Shea's in-home office in Cranston, R.I., this small public relations firm guarantees that interns will have a hands-on experience. Specializing in music industry consulting, Mixed Media interns interact with the media, assemble press kits and promote CDs. This company may be small, but interns gain tons of the experience needed to break into the exclusive music industry.
NAPSLO: National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices
The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices was founded in 1975 as a publicist for the surplus lines insurance market. Summer interns split their time between working for a member insurance company and with a NAPSLO member wholesale broker firm. Interns gain an in-depth view of the insurance industry by working in all departments. Select interns even have the opportunity to earn an all-expenses paid internship in London for the following summer!
Tracy Watts, Inc.
Located in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tracy Watts is an acclaimed hat designer whose work has been featured in prominent fashion magazines including Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Women's Wear Daily. This fashion industry internship may not be a household name just yet, but you'll gain valuable experience and be involved in all aspects of the design industry from design conception to distribution of the final product.
-Posted by Rebecca Zissou
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