Interns: The Young, The Motivated, The Millennials

posted on December 22nd 2016 in Employment

As a college student, there are a couple key post-graduation success words that have been drilled into my head: The first, Networking; the second, Internships. Through my years as a student, I have been constantly reminded that these two activities together are critical to finding a job after college. Luckily the two are also interconnected.

What are Internships Good For?


In Seattle, there are a number of networking events open to the public. Networking events have the power to build connections by breaking down barriers, broadening your resource pool, and showing off your soft skills.

Breaking Down Barriers

Networking events have the power to break down barriers. Every time I attend a networking event, I’m surprised at how casual and conversational it is. The barrier between CEOs, employees, and interns is completely demolished. At a networking event, we’re all equals. As equals, there is a natural opportunity for easy exchange of knowledge and relationships building.

Broadening Your Resource Pool

For startups, job seekers, and other people in the industry, networking events provide opportunities to build relationships and broaden your resource pool. For interns like myself, the connections made through networking can result in meeting mentors, becoming friends with peers in your industry, and building relationships with future clients or employers. For recruiters or people involved in startups, networking events offer the opportunity to find potential leads and partnerships,

Showing Off Your Soft Skills

As an intern at a Seattle startup, I quickly learned that people hire people. Technical skills barely narrow the applicant pool, so new hires are based more and more on soft skills. At networking events, you’re able to relax and be yourself, showing potential employers important soft skills such as your ability to get along with others, build connections, and engage in smart, pleasant conversation.

How to Find Internships

Many internships require prior internship experience, turning the process into a cyclical pattern of who-knows-who. Especially if you’re not already involved in your field of study, finding an internship can feel like an uphill battle. Here are a few tips to make the process easier.

Get Involved

Not only does getting involved benefit your resume, but it also opens you up to meeting new people. I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of uniquelyHR, Mikaela, at an event I coordinated through a student organization at my university. By getting involved in coordinating events, I put myself in a position to meet people of influence in the community. You can get involved through student organizations by attending networking events, or by joining on or off-campus clubs.

Build Trust

When I first spoke to Mikaela, the topic of a summer internship came up. Over the following month, I built a relationship with Mikaela by conversing and connecting with her on a regular basis before being accepted as an intern for uniquelyHR. Trust that can only be built through relationships is often seen as the most important element in a team. Trust shapes the values, culture, and people in a business. For Mikaela and I, this trust was built by working closely with her before and after being accepted as an intern. My experience with Mikaela showed me how advantageous personal relationships are for building mutual trust between the intern and the company.

What I learned As An Intern

How To Work Remotely

Interning for uniquelyHR adds a twist to the typical internship experience. Working for a consulting company demands that a significant portion of my work must be done from home. For anyone that’s ever worked remotely, they can relate to the struggle of working from home without supervision. When procrastination rears its ugly head, I have to muster the self-control to buckle down. This summer, I learned a lot about the importance of intrinsic motivation. With the freedom to plan my work schedule around my life, it takes focus and diligence to complete my work in a timely fashion.

How To Be Intentional

Intention became my greatest ally this summer. As the first and only student in the intern role at uniquelyHR, the flexibility of being in a new position can be both a blessing and a curse. I’ve gotten a taste of what life is like after college – completely self-directed. As a student, it’s easier to be motivated because there’s a a grade, a course load, and a timeline attached to tasks. As an intern, I have to hold myself to a high standard, nobody is watching over my shoulder to make sure I’m learning, it’s up to me. It would be simple to complete my tasks remotely. However, in order to gain the most from the brilliant people I’m working with, I have to be present. This takes intention. The days I’m in the office, being present is easier because I’m there physically. And even so, I need to be proactive daily with that same intention whether I’m working remotely or in the office.

Why Hire An Intern?

If you’re a business owner, you may be curious how it would benefit your company to hire an intern. If you’re an intern looking for an internship, you may want some clear bullet points to present to a potential employer to help you secure a position as an intern at your desired company. For business owners, and for hopeful interns, here are just a few benefits of hiring an intern.

Fresh Eyes

People are comfortable with consistency, and many companies fall into a bad pattern of only doing what’s worked in the past. In the startup world, change is the only consistent. Interns offer a fresh perspective. This new point of view can lead to new ideas, innovation, and creative problem solving.


Because interns usually have little experience in their field coming in, they aren’t entering with any bad habits. This makes them easily adaptable to the company’s way of doing things.

Desire To Prove Themselves

Interns are there to learn skills and build connections that they can carry with them into ‘the real world’. Therefore, they have an eager desire to prove themselves, especially if the company offers a chance for employment when the internship commences.

My hope, as I conclude my summer internship, is to leave an imprint at uniquelyHR. I’ve had the chance to work with wonderful people here. I am so excited to see how I can implement the knowledge and experience I’ve gained as an intern once I return to school for my third year. And I’m happy to have had the opportunity to help blaze a path for my succeeding intern at uniquelyHR.


Mikaela Kiner

Mikaela is a native Seattleite who’s spent the last fifteen years in HR leadership roles at iconic Northwest companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redfin. She has an MS in HR Management with a certificate in Organizational Development and is an ICF credentialed coach. Mikaela delivers results by building trust and engaging her clients in creative problem solving. Clients appreciate her strategic thinking and hands on execution.