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Intern Hell: How to Avoid Dooming Yourself on Your First Job

Getting an internship is hard work, particularly when you want the right job that will help you grow and learn. In 2024, if you are a student, you need to have the right know-how to get the right first internship. This will boost your career and enhance your career options right off the university gate. In general getting an online internship may feel great but it will only work if you are going to stick to remote-first businesses. As such, experts do not recommend it since working in an office with peers is much more important as a learning experience. 

Fortunately, you do not need to go for a Deloitte internship or a major consultancy to have a strong career showing. You can opt for a mid-level enterprise or even a startup to make a flying start. But knowing what signs to avoid is even more important since it will help you skip the companies that want to grind you without giving in return. So, let’s look at how you can avoid intern hell and find yourself growing as a professional right from your first internship spot.

Table of Content

How to Get An Internship in 2024 - 3 Tips for Finding the Best First Job!

Your first internship in 2024 will be a start like no other if you have the following tips in mind. Read on to find out what they are:


1. Know Your Goals

Hellsign: You Are Not Feeling Energized About Your Internship or Motivated About Your Goals

When it comes to tips for internships, the age-old adage - know thyself – Buddha, applies before everything else. As an intern, you are not just a student out of college. You are also an industry-defining professional 30 years down the road or an entrepreneur making waves in 10 years. And the walk up to that picture-perfect life and career starts here.

So, the first thing to do is to know what you really want to do. Getting any internship because you have to will not do and it’s always better to wait for a good one than to pick just about any one at all. The wrong kind of internship is going to set you back even if you find yourself gaining experience and getting a bullet point on your resume. 

Internships Are a Mixed Bag

According to Gallup, over 40% of students pursue some form of in-office or online internship during their college years. But this stat is just one. Don’t worry – as per Gallup, three in ten US students find it difficult to find internships. 

So, if you haven’t found the right kind of internship yet, all you need to do is keep refining your skills while looking for opportunities. For this, the power of offline connections should not be ignored even though most students will love to look for internships online. 

Additionally, companies love internship applicants with solidly defined goals and you will give yourself a face-up if you present yourself confidently. And it’ll put your employer on notice that you are a go-getter who wants to advance their career and not warm a seat. 

2. Develop Your Career Path on Your Own

Hellsign: You Are Not Getting Enough Career Growth Support from Your Supervisor 

Most students know this already but it bears repeating in every list for tips for internships. You will only get the job you want if you plan out your career according to that. Even your dream internship in 2024 is supposed to be only a part of your career and not the definition of it. This will also save you from a bad internship experience since you will be able to spot when an internship/online internship offer does not carry a career advancement plan with it.


Get More Support from Managers

Many students do not realize that they need to take up their career as a personal quest and the first internship they take must align with it. Since they do not have career goals mapped out with solid research, they end up taking bad internships that do not help them grow as professionals.

Further, your career goals and path are not just a plan for you to follow even with online internships. It is also an indicator to your office supervisor and colleagues of the kind of person you are. So, while others might only get marginal support from managers, you might develop strong industry relations. However, if you find that your career growth plan is not in alignment with your company internship’s approach, it is best to find a better experience elsewhere.  

Seek the Right Educational Support 

The best kinds of internships in 2024 always offer avenues or advice on career growth options to interns. This is arguably the best thing for interns since it goes over and above the internship stipend and gives them the market insights they will need to grow as a professional. This is another way interns avoid falling into bad internship experiences since they have the motivation and companies are often willing to give them the extra help that they may not give to others. Check out this internship experience showcase at McKinsey to get a sneak peek into dream internships. 

3. Stay Busy with Your Network

Hellsign: You Are Not Getting Enough Networking Opportunities in Your Internships 

One of the biggest mistakes interns make in their early career is focusing too much on work and not enough on networking. A good example here is data analyst internships which are very hot right now in the world. While data-related insights might be subject to discretion data analyst interns should nevertheless post on social media like LinkedIn with their insights. Showcasing a strong aptitude on social media is a sure way to avoid getting trapped in Intern hell or a grindy temp most. 

In fact, they need to give equal degrees of attention to both since this will help them get up faster in their career and job prospects. This is also a great way to make the most of mediocre internships since companies would like to develop their own rapport with student bodies through networking. 

Internship Networking is a Two-Way Street 

Networking through your internship in 2024 is a massive advantage and often turns a bad internship into a good one. If you are a good student and want to include your manager in your network, they may offer you a bigger role or better opportunities once they see the social media support behind you. The key note here is to always keep the posts rooted in quality work and creating a lasting career rapport. 

Tying in Education with Networking is a Golden Ticket

A bad internship will give you no career education opportunities. But you have the option of turning your career up by taking one that ties up with your internship. If your internship is longer than 3 months, consider how you may cover the gaps in your business’ ongoing process. The idea is to align their goals with yours and translate toward career growth options, even with online internships. Putting these together with social media posts will help create the best momentum from even bad internship experiences.  

What Should Your 2024 Internship Vision Look Like?

Getting an internship with your dream company is a moment of great joy. But it’s a beginning you really need to capitalize on to really benefit from it. Even with online internships, the first and foremost is to not compromise on your job role and projects worked on. The tasks at the internship and their results matter more than the label under which you did them. Intern hell becomes a learning experience when you realize that you are in charge of your career and make the most of even bad experiences. 

Set your career goals clearly, pick internships that align with your career choice and give it your best. Usually, enthusiasm is infectious and might make a disinterested manager lean into your internship. Also, remember to read authentic sources for advice and insights on how to get internships in 2024 like this one or this one from Chron

For more tips for internships in 2024 check out our job board as HR Helpboard and stay regular with our blog!