Enthusiasm Always Beats Strategy

If you're one of those individuals who has a 5-year life plan and is always thinking three steps ahead, you may find yourself trying to decide which academic program or internship to pursue that would give you the best advantage down the road.

If you have a specific type of job in mind for the future, I always suggest checking out job postings to get an idea of how your current skill set matches up and where you might want to try to gain additional skills or experience. However, this may still leave you with a variety of options for how you might go about getting those skills.

Or you might not know exactly what you want to do in the future, so you're trying to strategize: Which internship will make me most marketable?

Here's what I suggest: Go after the opportunities that make you most excited, the things you think you will love the most.

Whatever you choose to pursue, whether an internship, a volunteer opportunity, or an academic program, you're going to have to commit yourself to it for a period of time. You don't want to spend a year being miserable simply because you think this opportunity might help you look better on future job applications.

However, if you pursue something you enjoy, you're invariably going to pick up new skills from it, and you never know when those skills will come in handy. And there are a lot of different ways you can spin an experience to emphasize the types of skills a particular job requires.

Most importantly, though, when you talk about something you love, you are likely to bring an animation to your voice and face that is critical for making a good impression on hiring managers. Twenty candidates who did the same sorts of standard internships because they thought they had to are going to blend together, but the candidate who is truly passionate about their work or their field of study is going to stand out.