Candid Conversations: The Intern Queen Shares Her Best Career Advice

Featured on Forbes.com for ForbesWomen. Written by Elana Lyn Gross, Contributor

When Lauren Berger was an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida, she interned at 15 companies. "Each internship taught me so much about myself both personally and professionally. When it came to finding these internships and learning how to make the most of them – I could never find any information," she says. In 2008, just two years after graduation, Berger used $5,000 of her personal savings to start the company she wished she had when she was in college.

Intern Queen has a job board, career advice articles and college ambassadors who write for the blog and represent the company on campus. It's free for students, but companies pay to post internships and to work with Intern Queen's campus marketing agency. Berger has written three books, including her most recent book Get It Together: Ditch the Chaos, Do the Work, and Design your Success.

Elana Lyn Gross: What was the pitching and writing process like for Get It Together? What advice would you give to other people who want to write a nonfiction book?

Lauren Berger: Get It Together was my third book, so the pitching process was slightly easier than it was with my first book. That being said, the basics are the same. I pitch the idea to my book agent who I’ve been working with for years. She’s a great sounding board and not afraid to tell me how it is, and I take a stab at putting together a proposal. I send it to the book agent, we get it to a good place, send it around to publishing houses and then ideally the offers start to come to the table. This book actually took years to write and to get to the place where I was happy with it. I worked on it on and off for about three years.

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Gross: What are the top three key takeaways you'd like people to have after reading Get It Together?

Berger: You don’t have to feel so busy all of the time. And better yet – it’s okay not to be busy at all. In fact, I challenge you to tell someone that you aren’t busy or just mention nothing about “being busy” the next time you see someone.

Part of getting it together is dealing with rejection and failure. I have a whole chapter dedicated to this topic – it’s one of my favorites.

You have to prioritize yourself – no one else will. There are ways to redefine your goals and routine. There are ways to do better work, achieve more and feel better at work and at home, but it’s up to you to activate those strategies.

Gross: What are the most important characteristics someone needs to have to be successful in your role?

Berger: Honestly? Embrace rejection, love rejection and expect rejection. It’s tough out there. Be resilient.

Gross: You have thousands of Intern Queen members. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who hope to create an offline and online community?

Berger: Be consistent, have a voice and don’t write content just to write content. Focus on quality over quantity. Build personal one-on-one relationships the best that you can. Word of mouth will always be your best and strongest marketing tool.

Gross: What's the biggest lesson you learned at work, and how did you learn it?

Berger: It’s hard to pick one lesson – I learn so many each day. One lesson is that no matter how big your team is, no one will care as much as you do. At the end of the day, it still falls on you to push your business up the mountain.

Gross: What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?

Berger: I wish I would have known that rejection doesn’t mean never, it just means not right now. Things change, people get promoted and people come around. Hang in there!

Gross: What is the best advice you've ever received?

Berger:  You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. Just ask. What’s the worst that can happen?

Gross: What is your business advice for other young professional women?

Berger: Collaborate, introduce yourself, fail hard and know when to pivot.

Candid Conversations: Dev Aujla, Millennial Workforce Expert and Best-selling Author

Summertime is upon us, bringing a renewed sense of joy for time out of the office. Adventures outdoors, vacations with our loved ones, and creating new memories in warmer weather is something we all look forward to. While we hit the reset button away from work, it's important to have these moments to remind ourselves why we do this work and how we can find work that both satisfies our essential needs as well as makes life more exciting and fulfilling.

Dev Aujla has written a new best-selling book, 50 Ways to Get a Job: An Unconventional Guide to Finding Work on Your Terms, with just this in mind. Dev shares some insights on his research and writings of finding a job with meaning as well as what he enjoys most about speaking at events and creating meaningful experiences with audiences.

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OA: What are you Outspoken about?

DA: I believe that the way that we have been taught to find jobs is fundamentally broken. During the process of researching for this book, I read every career book from the 70's forward and the advice simply hasn't changed. We have made a shift to making learning-based careers from stability-based ones and it is changing the way that we get job, ways that we learn and how we build a life today. I want to help people navigate this new type of career.

OA: How has your recent work transformed the focus of your content when delivering a speech?

DA: It has become a lot more activity focused. You can't just hear someone talk and inspire you. You need to stop and actually do something, ask yourself the hard questions or make a list of what you want to learn. Even to large crowds, there can be opportunities for a type of engagement that actually lets people feel what the process of navigating our career should feel like.

OA: How do speaking events help your growth [whether that’s with inspiring new content, new research, or other opportunities]?

DA: I really believe in this material. We are living in a world that tells us that we all need to be entrepreneurs --- take risks and follow your passion. A different story needs to be told --- you don't have to be an extrovert or an entrepreneur! Get a job. It's great. The process of finding a job should feel calm, grounding and like the job you eventually want to have. People need to know this is possible because, otherwise, we are left feeling depressed that we aren't hearing
anything back from job boards.

OA: What would you like to see happen more often at events to engage with the audience?

DA: The most interesting one was I once spoke to a room that was divided male and female with a divider in the middle. I was standing at the center looking at both sides but they couldn't see each other. I could see which parts of my speech resonated with the men and women. It was
fascinating and definitely transformed my speech.

OA: What has been one of the most fulfilling audience experiences at a speaking event and why?

DA: The most fulfilling would be all the conversation I have after each talk with individuals in the middle of figuring it all out finding new ways to see themselves and their career.

OA: If you could hear someone give a speech alive or dead, who would it be and why?

DA: I would like to hear Oscar Wilde talk. I want to know how that kind of witty, quick, cutting banter would stand up today in the age of Twitter.

OA: How can people become more involved with your work and/or where is your writing being featured mostly these days?

DA: You can visit 50waystogetajob.com to see what led to the book and what has helped over 500k people navigate their next steps. I am writing short articles that range from GOOD Magazine to Fast Company at the moment.

Rave Reviews: Lauren Berger at PRSSA National Conference

"Lauren energized nearly 1,000 students at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) 2016 National Conference in Indianapolis. When asked about Lauren's session via a survey, attendees raved about her inspiring story and enthusiastic delivery. They also noted that they walked away with tangible advice to apply during their internship and job searches. It takes an impactful speaker to own a room with no visual aids and Lauren did just that — all eyes and ears were on her. Lauren genuinely answered audience questions and made herself available to everyone in the room after the session and via email. Besides being an engaging speaker, Lauren is truly dedicated to helping people pursuing internships and jobs."
 
- PRSSA National Conference - October 2016