July 23, 2013

10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Internship

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A lot of your internships are probably close to winding down, but it’s not too late to squeeze some more valuable experience out of them! (Side note: Why do invaluable and valuable basically mean the same thing? I spent a solid 10 minutes trying to decide which one to use. Ugh, English.)

1. You probably have a supervisor you check in with, but have you met whoever is above him/her? Be proactive. Set up a meeting with the boss’s boss and wow them with all you’ve done! They’ll be impressed to know how many different types of coffee orders you’ve memorized! Who knew John in Marketing’s regular was a double macchiato with half 2% and half soy milk and a dash of cinnamon? Only the best intern in the world, that’s who!

2. Ask questions! Seriously! Now is the time that it’s ok to be a little ignorant of the industry you’re in. You’re not expected to know everything, but you are expected to want to know everything. So act like you want it and be curious!

3. Be receptive to feedback. Ask your supervisors if there is anything you can be improving on or any skills you can expand upon. They’ll be impressed that you’re open to constructive criticism and it will show that you really do want to improve in your field.

4. Don’t get discouraged or take it personally if some of the people in the office don’t want to give you the time of day. There will be people like that at any job level, so don’t get discouraged. Find the ones who are willing to give you a little bit of mentoring and take advantage of it.

5. Make friends! It’s important to impress the bosses, but befriending coworkers is just as important when you want to leave an impression. Get a drink with someone in HR, grab coffee with one of your bosses. Leave your mark through your work and make sure they remember your personality, too! Don’t forget that the people you work with are human and they like to just hang out, too!

6. Depending on the company you’re working for, there might be freelance opportunities. For instance, if you’re working at a publication, you can ask if you can stay connected to the company by continuing to do some freelance writing for them while at school.

7. Keep a list of the things you’ve been doing at work and update your resume so you don’t forget later when you’re interviewing for a job and they ask about your past experience, what software you’ve worked with, etc. Once you’re back at school and hitting the books, it will be easy to forget that you’re proficient with KeyNote and Numbers.

8. It’s not sucking up to get your boss a thoughtful parting gift to thank them for all they’ve done for you this summer. Maybe she mentioned she has an affinity for Precious Moments figurines… and you just so happened to have found one at a flea market and thought of her…

9. On that note, depending on how big your office or department is and your ability to not burn your kitchen down, bring in some homemade or store bought baked goods as a thank you on your last day!

10. After your internship is over, shoot your supervisor an e-mail thanking them again for giving you the opportunity to work with them. It shows how much you appreciated the experience you received (even if it was picking up their laundry and walking their toy poodle), and it can’t hurt to remind them of your existence after you’ve left the office.

Original Author: Rachel Ellicott