This post is sponsored by Degree Women but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

The Three Career Tips I Give Every Intern

{By Margarita Wells, an environmental professional & writer} – I began my career as an intern where I currently work; it lay the foundation for my professional path, therefore, I take my role as a mentor very seriously. Over the years I have worked with interns of different ages, educational levels and academic backgrounds and tailored their time with me to meet their respective goals and needs. However, there are three career tips—advice I wish I had received when I was an intern—that I lay upon everyone to calm their nerves about the future and make them more competitive in the workforce:

Don’t stress: 

You may not know what you want to do with your degree yet, but most of us that are happy and established in our jobs now, didn’t either when we were in your shoes. You will find your calling with a little luck and some trial-and-error. (That’s how I ended up where I am today!)

Also, keep in mind that two people with the same degree can go in different directions. I graduated from a marine science program that has produced scientific researchers, natural resource managers, educators, and planners. You don’t have to take your education in the same path as others.

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Develop and foster your soft skills:

In school our focus is acquiring knowledge and technical skills, or “hard skills”. Hard skills are important to get a job, especially if you want to go into a field that requires specific knowledge like medicine or engineering. But, hard skills can only take you so far.

When I interview for a job, the most competitive candidates are those with strong soft skills—that is, less tangible skills such as the ability to get along with others, communicate effectively or problem-solve. Soft skills are built on good habits and take time to develop.

Find your superpower:

Find what you are good at and make it your superpower. Use it to set yourself apart from other candidates when applying for jobs. When I sit on interview panels, the candidates that catch my eye are those that know their strengths and brand themselves accordingly.

Your superpower can be something not directly linked to your academic background or career. For example, I’m a scientist by trade but I have discovered a talent for communication through blogging. The important part is to put your talents in a work context. In my case, I use my communication skills to convey the importance of scientific concepts or findings to people who can put them into practice; like engineers and policymakers.

What’s your superpower?

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