Everyone’s career has to start somewhere and for many, it all began in a cubicle as an intern. For me, that internship was at NLIHC.
Most interns are in pursuit of a few things: “Strengthen my resume…. Secure a good reference…. Maybe even make a few bucks.” A good internship might provide all of these things, but a great internship will act as the foundation of an intern’s career. A great internship allows the intern to dive deep into the organization, to take ownership over a project, to develop valuable skill sets that he or she could never learn in a college classroom. A great internship gives the intern both the experience and confidence to not only pursue a great job, but to also nail the interview and land the position. My experience as an intern at NLIHC did just that.
Fresh out of college, I began my time at NLIHC as a Communications and Outreach intern. Having studied political science, I was excited to see what that meant in the real world and especially what role a policy and advocacy nonprofit like NLIHC could play in politics. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my internship, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it did not involve coffee runs or spending hours making photocopies. Here at NLIHC, interns are highly utilized and depended on; they are treated equally to staff members and therefore receive equally important assignments, such as writing articles for Memo to Members or attending meetings on Capitol Hill. I learned how to make press calls, maintained a constituent database, worked on a targeted member prospecting project, and participated in policy conference calls. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was really learning how to manage my time, when to solve problems on my own and when to ask for help, and what it really means to be accountable for producing efficient and quality work. I was learning how to be a professional.
So if you are looking for an internship, look for one that will provide you the opportunity to make a real contribution and to gain some practical experience in the professional world. And consider NLIHC: every semester we look for smart and energetic interns who we believe will be up to the task of essentially becoming a temporary part of our staff. Whether you are interested in Communications, Outreach, Research, or Policy, at NLIHC we all know the best interns are those that are eager to get the most out of the experience. If that sounds like you, take a look at the internships we offer and learn how to apply.
Ultimately, being an intern at NLIHC is a great preview of what it is like, or more so what it takes, to work for a well-respected, national nonprofit advocacy organization. Two years and two staff positions later, I am still working, and learning, at NLIHC, so needless to say I liked what I saw.
Sarah Brundage is the Communications Associate at NLIHC, and worked previously as Executive Assistant to the President. She enjoys working with her interns and taking breaks to walk and get her own coffee.