By: Michelle Penot
So you got a summer internship? Congratulations! You dressed up, printed out your resume, shook hands with recruiters at career fairs, sat through numerous interviews, sent follow-up emails and finally you got an offer. It could be your dream internship at a prestigious firm, or it could be a local company that needed a few interns for the summer. Regardless of the name, the revenue of the company, or if your friends ask you “Where is that? I’ve never heard of it,” you are now an official employee of a company.
Now it is up to you to make the best of your new position. Here are a four tips to help make your time at your internship as successful and beneficial as possible.
Take the Initiative
A lot of information is going to be thrown at you in the beginning, and it is OK and encouraged to ask questions.
However, it is essential to pay attention and keep up. Internships should be challenging. Don’t be afraid to take notes when your manager is running through something new with you. Bring a notebook and pen to every meeting.
TIP: After something is explained to you, repeat it back to them to make sure you are clear with directions. You’ll learn things quicker and won’t need to interrupt your manager for assistance every time you work on a project.
Don’t sit around and wait for your manager to give you another task after you complete something, be autonomous.
TIP: It could be something as small as organizing files or cleaning up a database. You will find your manager will trust you with more projects and give you more creative freedom.
Internships are not meant to be a clock-in-clock-out job. Ultimately, you applied because you wanted a professional job experience to help launch a successful career. Start your day by thinking, “How can I be an asset and how can my skills be utilized?”
Pay attention to your manager’s schedule and responsibilities. Think of yourself as an extension of their role and how you can help them achieve their work goals.
TIP: If your manager hasn’t already set up one-on-one meetings with you, ask to set aside 20-30 minute once or twice a month to go over your progress and plan out goals for the summer.
Challenge yourself to be innovative
It can be intimidating to speak up to your company with new ideas. However, interns are some of the best resources of knowledge of the inner workings of the company.
If you think of a solution to a company problem, write out a plan and present it to a supervisor. You can always list your internship on your resume, but what really stands out is your impact and success there.
TIP: “Saved x amount of money for the company by designing and implementing a new program or system” is a significant accomplishment you can speak of in future job interviews.
Keep track of your work
You will be learning and digesting a large amount of information at your internship so it is important to keep a log of all the work that you perform or industry/job tips or tricks you learned along the way.
TIP: If you haven’t already done so, create a portfolio of work or projects you have produced at internships or other clubs/organizations. Whether it be papers, blog articles or charts/reports displaying your accomplishments, all these pieces showcase your abilities, talents and value you could bring to a potential employer.
Most importantly, be yourself and take time to reflect on your internship. This is a summer to discover more about YOU, what kind of work YOU like and the type of company YOU want to work for. Challenge yourself each day and make the most out of your internship.
Have a great summer!