I am a child of the great depression. Not the “great” depression as in what happened in the 1920s. The great depression as in “we haven’t been really OK since it happened” depression of the XXI century. My professional career started in 2008, and as you can infer that meant only one word: crisis.
I can only imagine how hard it is for young professionals nowadays to get a job. Ortega y Gasset used to say that “I am myself and my circumstance”; and I can see how this is shaping an entire generation of newcomers. In my short experience hiring people and building teams, I can really tell that the context in which they have developed impacts their professional lives profoundly.
I am, as well as them, a victim of the most repeated mantra of all times: “if you study hard and work hard, you’ll make it through”. How are these new guys —which is the most educated generation of all times: most of them hold Masters’— going to “make it through” when everybody is heavily trained and prepared to work their asses off? How can you differentiate yourself when having a title is no longer an exception, but the rule?
Having titles to throw at your employer’s face no longer gives you the upper hand. A good attitude and willingness to sacrifice might very well get you a job. . . in the 1950s’. It now reaches the point of the famous paradox: what you require is experience, but how are you going to get it when no one is hiring you due to the lack of it? This is where the power of internships becomes a real game-changer.
You see, when the employers ask you for experience, what they are really saying is “I don’t have the time nor the money to train you on what I need you to be doing”. You might have the technical knowledge (degree), you might have the right attitude (you are doing well in the interview and you have a good company-person fit). . . but you just died on the beach without having had a chance to fight because you have no experience.
Let’s get something clear: internships by themselves are not —and have never been— meant to be pleasant. They are created for you to learn doing things and at the same time for the company to get work done without increasing its costs. They are a win-win situation if you get into them with the right mindset and understand that both parties are getting something valuable out of each other. It was precisely because of this “everybody wins” that we at Adapttech decided to create an internship program from day one and why we try our best to make sure people learn and grow while being with us.
I have no doubt in my mind that Adapttech’s internship program is one of our company’s most successful implementations. I love having people with us every summer eager to learn new things and, although only less than 10% of all applicants make the cut, the ones that stay with us are so good that we often keep them as employees.
And this is exactly the point I wanted to make: at Adapttech, we have a policy of not letting talent get away, and I’m sure many companies do the same. Take a chance and apply for an internship to a company that you find interesting and let them see your true potential. There is power in internships, and they may very well get you your first job.