Here’s something I see a lot of Gen Y internship and job seekers doing that is very unproductive: applying to only one thing at a time.
Those of us who come from older and more cynical generations know that a good rule of thumb is to never assume that one opportunity will come through—you need to cover a lot of ground, all at the same time. But often we fail to offer that advice to our children.
I am noticing this a lot on the internship front, as I am seeing a lot of disappointed candidates who thought something was going to come through and therefore didn’t put out feelers for other opportunities. They are now scrambling to find something when most of the plum internships are taken.
As a parent of a high school junior who has two summer internships organized (with no small effort on my part, incidentally), I can tell you first-hand that it can be frustrating trying to convince your kid to keep looking around once he’s applied to his first choice internship. It’s very similar to applying to college—you need to have safeties to go with your stretches and targets. But you will find it is worth the nagging—a lot better than watching him hang around in front of the tv and computer all summer.
So get ready for some hand-to-hand combat with your ornery young adult. You’ll need the practice anyway!