Interns need to quit focusing on any of this nonsensical talk they are being taken advantage of or being exploited when you are offered a position with no pay.  This is crazy!  In the marketplaceobscurity is the single biggest problem you can have.  Whether you are a business, entrepreneur or someone looking for a job if the marketplace doesn’t know you then they can not attach a value to you.

People looking for work worry about what they are going to get paid because they don’t understand the game.  Understand that there is no shortage of money on this planet. Great ideas with great people and lots of actions always produce lots of money.  What the world is short on is EXCEPTIONAL people.  I consult businesses and the number one problem they share with me is the shortage of fully committed, confident, talented and completely dedicated people.

Most people go to work for companies only concerned about what they are going to get from the company – this is a mistake.

Here is what the wrong attitude sounds like:
* How much will you pay me?
* What are my hours going to be?
* Who will I work for?
* When do I get time off?
* What kind of recommendation will I get?

This intern is only interested in what he/she gets from working for the company. ME ME ME.   The first rule in getting something of value is to offer something of value. I spend three chapters in “Sell or Be Sold” talking about reciprocation and the principal of GIVE GIVE GIVE.  Other than getting some experience working for this company the intern that works for a company without the right thinking will get very little from being an intern.

Get your head right before you take on the intern game. Go there with the idea of making a difference.  The biggest benefit for you is to get known and break out of obscurity.  Attention is the first step to any level of success.  To have monster success you have to get massive levels of attention.  It starts with getting the internship.  Make an impression so strong that the company you target can’t quit thinking about you.  They want to hire you and give you shares in the company not just intern you.

Quit looking for a job, or just getting some credit towards a graduation diploma.  Look bigger and think bigger.  Further, rather than having a company find you, I want you to find the company you want to intern for and go to them.   Never take whatever the market place offers you decide what you want and go get it. This will really impress the company that you have initiative, then stick with them until they agree to bring you on.
Once you get the gig, go in to the company and be willing to do whatever it takes to exceed the company’s expectations.  Be willing to do anything even jobs that you might consider beneath you.  Bring a big game  – bring solutions – bring VALUE so great that the company will want to hire you not intern you.

The intern job is an opportunity not a problem. They have opened the door for you to show your talents. Think about American Idol, The Voice, America Got Talent or X Factor.   People spend their last dollars to audition (intern) on that show without any immediate financial exchange or promise, just an opportunity to get known.  Once you make the cut then you have to continue to get attention, get people to like you, get them to want to support you and be so impressed as THE stand out, the talent, the person with the “X” factor that they rain more opportunities on you.

In the real world you don’t get breaks, you make them!
  In the real world no one will ever pay you what you are worth until you show that you are able to deliver more than anyone expected or even conceived.    You aren’t competing with all the others that also want to be an intern, you are competing for ATTENTION.  The world you are stepping into is a noisy one filled with people that are disappointed, distracted and disillusioned.  Be exceptional!  Exceed expectations!  Don’t worry about what you are going to get but how much you are willing to give.

Bring your “A” game…not your intern game.

  • Bryan Harris

    @Vanessa: Who do you think paid Grant while he was starting his companies? I’m an entrepreneur and when I start companies, guess what? No one pays me at first. It’s an investment of my time and sometimes my money (of which I had virtually none when I started my first company out of my friends living room). Please let us know your last name so hiring managers reading this can be sure not to hire you, ever.

  • vanessa

    Written by a consultant who has never worked as an intern and has no personal knowledge of how soul crushing it can be. Internships are basically slave labour for corporations. An apprenticeship? An entry level job? A work placement? All legitimate positions. Internships are antithetical to capitalism and make the incoming workforce bitter and angry. Your post is full of garbage corporate speak and doesn’t offer any insight. Go work for free for six months and then come back and write this article.

  • Mr Always Be Closing

    Mr @grantcardone LAYS it down baby! Sell someone else to support you financially so you can have a chance to showcase your talent at the company.

  • Zak Slayback

    I appreciated this. I’m interning at the IHS this summer at GMU and am losing money in the end, but I’ve tried not to worry about it too much. I keep telling myself I’m going to work extra hours and do everything they ask to the best of my ability just to impress them that little bit. In addition to that, knowing I am making a real, tangible contribution to a cause I support is value enough. good to know I’m not crazy.

  • Dave B.

    There are some crazy laws out there that make it hard for companies to hire interns… or anyone who’s ambitious and willing to start on the ground floor. In California interns have to be hired or fired after 3 months and every State is subject to minimum-wage laws. Interns are a vital part of business… they help with the daily grunt work and are the future leaders of companies. Great article, Grant.