If you're looking for an internship don't just apply because it looks simple and you want to get your resume out there, instead make sure you read the reviews and fully research the company. Don't make the same mistake I did and just assume an internship is an internship no matter what it is and can help build my resume. Although I had to go through a hard process of realizing everything is not what it seems, I was able to learn from this mistake and find out what I am truly interested in.
A few days ago, I saw a listing on google of a marketing internship in New York City. Of course, I got super excited since I needed something to do this summer besides babysit so I applied impulsively to two marketing companies praying I would get the internship. I didn't do prior research because I just assumed it was real considering it is on google and its responsibilities and qualifications sounded realistic. Not to mention that it said a "paid-internship" which would get any 19-year-old extra excited.
About two hours later, I got an email from one of the companies telling me that I got an interview and that I was chosen out of many applicants. I had to schedule my interview for either that day or the day after and I decided to do the day after in the afternoon, so I had time to discuss what to say with my parents. It was my first formal interview and my parents have been through many interviews, so they knew exactly what to say to impress the interviewers.
This made me excited, so I texted my parents and went to buy an interview dress and nice sandals to look my best and stand out from my competition. At that point my parents were telling me that it was a little strange how they wrote back the day of, but maybe they were just desperate for interns and I was desperate for an internship, so it worked both ways.
My mom and I always go on walks in the morning, so the next morning we further discussed how to stand out from the other applicants. On the walk, I got an email from the other marketing internship I applied to saying to schedule an interview for the next day. This got me so excited because two marketing companies in the city were interested in me.
I showed my mom the email and at the bottom of emails there are always the location of the company and when my mom read that, she knew something was wrong. It was the same location as the marketing company which I was going to interview with that day. My mom is an extremely skeptical woman who loves to do research. As soon as we got home, she got right on her computer and researched both companies. She read the reviews and they all said that this company is a scam and that there is no salary. Your pay check is based on the sales you make, so if you don't make a sale, then you don't make any money.
This whole concept of this internship being a "scam" made me upset, but I still wanted to give it a shot and see what it's all about. Not all the reviews were bad and maybe some people just didn't work hard enough and didn't have a good experience at this company. I know myself and how hard-working and dedicated I am so maybe it would be different for me and I could become a great marketer one day.
As soon as I got to my interview I felt as though something wasn't quite right. The interview was located on the third floor of some sketchy building in Midtown. So many people in business outfits sat around me waiting patiently. They were all young yet older than me. They gave forms out at the front desk to every interviewee. I finished my form then looked around assuming everyone had a form with the same company as me yet the girl sitting next to me had the company name on her paper that also asked me to come in for an interview. This made me even more suspicious as I kept looking at people's forms and everyone had a different company name on their paper.
The interviewer never once asked me if I had any questions, told me what I would be doing as an intern or told me how much I would be getting paid. I was only in the interview room for 10 minutes where she also told me how the interns already started, but they are looking for more last-minute interns and how everyone starts from the same position whether you are an intern or looking for a job. This was also crazy to me how there is no positions and working your way up the ladder is the same for me as it is for someone with more experience.
The next day I was told I would have to stay with the trainer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They didn't even mention if I would get paid which I knew from reading the reviews that I wouldn't. I met my trainer in the morning and I was told to just follow two girls around and take notes on the process. The whole two hours I was there, the two girls just walked in every private owned business they saw and tried to smooth talk the owner/workers in the store.
It was funny to me how every store they went in didn't buy the product, so the girls made no sales and will not make any money. I was extremely quiet during this process as I realized how much of a joke this whole job was and how both of these girls will not make any money. After two hours of going from store to store trying to sell a product yet failing, the trainer finally asked me why I was so quiet and if I was okay and that is when I explained to her that it wasn't the right job for me and went home to write this paper.
This experience may have been upsetting and a waste of time, yet I was able to realize that being an investigative journalist is the perfect job for me. I am good at playing the part of a spy. I love movies like "So Undercover", "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and "Miss Congeniality" where investigators or journalists go undercover to expose a crime or uncover a story and that is exactly what I have done. I feel powerful and more confident in myself. This was a learning process as well as an opening for a new career path for me.