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For best results, customize your internship

April 18, 2011

Antoine D. Moss is a former intern for Congress, the FBI and NASA who currently works as a transportation management specialist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He also speaks publicly as a motivator. Moss’s new book, Learn to Intern CEO Style, chronicles his internship experiences and strategies for turning ambition into reality.

Antoine D. Moss, authorDeveloping and interacting with your Facebook profile is tons of fun! Similarly, creating a playlist on your iPod is cool. You utilize these social mechanisms often to fulfill your passionate desire for entertainment. But when it’s time to accomplish career goals, students seek internships. Internships provide invaluable opportunities for students to attain career goals.  However, many interns totally drop the ball and miss out on actually enhancing their skills and networks during their internship experiences because they view the experience as just an “internship.” You know, a check the box type of thing.

But this will no longer be the case for you, because I’m going to quickly teach you how to overcome that detrimental mentality. Just as you create your personal space on Facebook or with your iPod, it’s imperative that you keep the same concept in mind when starting internships. You may ask, what’s the concept? It is simple: customization.

Now take a quick second to think about it — customization is what makes an iPod cool, right?

“CEOs establish a vision for their business. You too must see yourself as a business.”

Because depending upon which mood you’re in, you can immediately select the perfect song that satisfies your mood. You can do the same thing with internships — you can develop a plan that will help you reach your goals!

While I have successfully completed two of the world’s most competitive internship programs, with the FBI and United States Congress, it wasn’t until my most recent internship with NASA that I learned how to customize my internship like it’s my Facebook profile. I learned that I was the C.E.O. of my dreams, and it was up to me to make them come true!

You have to take initiative and lead your way to success during your experiences just like you are the CEO of your dreams … because you are!  CEOs establish a vision for their business. You too must see yourself as a business. You must form a vision, goals and a competitive advantage that set you apart from others.

NASA's Glenn Research Center

Antoine's NASA internship led to full-time work at NASA's Glenn Research Center, pictured above.

They say, “Life is what you make of it.” Well, internships are what you make of them, too. Your experience should not be the same as other interns because your dreams, goals and ambitions are different. Some internships are more formal than others, but you have the ability to customize your internship experience to meet your personal needs.

In summary, think about what you would like to experience by the end of your internship tenure. Once you’ve done this, personally craft and shape your internship so you will have the opportunity to benefit as much as you can from your experience. Write down the goals you want to achieve and meet with your supervisor to learn whether or not they can be accomplished. Consider this to be your internship plan, and make sure that you and your supervisor sign it.

Once you customize your internship like it’s your Facebook profile, you will have the key to unlock what will ultimately provide you access to being the CEO of your dreams.

Interested in Antoine’s story, and more insight into career development? Check out his website here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ayesha April 19, 2011 at 10:29 am

Interesting concept regarding “customization.” Although I am a currently in the workforce and specifically, my own Boss; hence, C.E.O., I was able to place the concept mentioned above in my past internship/clerkship experiences. As a law clerk during law school, competition is steep. You must focus on separating yourself apart from the rest and consider how to do that, how does it work, what is my first step and/or next step. I never thought about it previously as customizing my experience. Now that I have that in mind, even as a working professional, it makes much sense and helps me focus on another level. Nonetheless, the very things you mentioned are how my last internship became my 1st full-time professional opportunity as a practicing attorney. Thus, I think the information is highly beneficial and reminds us of the things we don't regularly consider. Thanks!


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