Internship Link Roundup: Spring Break ’11 Edition

Strangle Hold

Photo by Randy Robertson

Internship Link Roundup for the Week of November 15

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Seeing the Big Picture

It’s crazy to think that the end of summer is already here. It has flown by in a mess of meetings, projects and memories. I’ve had a great time at Pentair, and thankfully it’s not ending. I’ve been offered a great opportunity to stay with my internship through the fall semester.

As I look back on my summer, I realize I’ve learned many lessons throughout my three months with Pentair. I’ve learned some basics: that asking questions is the best training method, making mistakes is a part of the learning process, but most importantly, that no matter how ridiculously hectic and busy it gets, you need to take a moment to step back and see the big picture in order to take full advantage of your internship.

It’s easy once you get into the swing of things to let your duties and tasks consume you. You become so task-oriented that you can lose site of your goals and overall personal strategy. I know because it happened to me. I was focused on just doing things without thinking of the end objective. There are a couple of little things that I did which can help make sure you keep the focus on your goals.

I’ve been having weekly meetings with my internship mentor, Silvia Madrigal. We talk about how I’m keeping up with my projects, but we also talk about what I’m getting out of my internship and any other opportunities around that may help me get the most out of my stay. It’s a great chance to make sure that my work is benefiting the company, but also that the company is benefiting me. Even if your internship doesn’t have a designated mentor, you should find someone who is willing to take that extra time with you to focus on the goals each week.

We also had an opportunity to do some community service. We worked at Estabrook Park to help clear invasive plant species and pick up trash along the Milwaukee River. This was a great way for all of the interns to get together, do some good, and get out of our cubes. It helps us remember that there’s a bigger picture around us. There’s more than our cube, more than our department, and even more than our company. Keeping that in mind can help you balance yourself, see the big picture and impact of the work you’re doing both inside the office and out. It doesn’t hurt that you can have a lot of fun with a great group of people too :) .

Pentair Interns 2010

Learning opportunities are bountiful in any internship as long as you take a chance to see the big picture. I’ve learned a great deal in my short time with Pentair, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep learning and growing with them this fall. I hope that everybody with an internship can be as lucky as I have been and can take away as much as I have. Real world experience is only one benefit of an internship. There’s so much you can do to reach other goals in personal development as well. So stay focused, have fun, and learn a lot.

Read Krista’s Entire Journey

  1. Meet Krista Wolfe
  2. Leap and the Net Will Appear

Other Summer Intern Confessions

Ellen Hatfield

Jon McGuff

Allison Lindsey

Get Creative in Your Internship Search

I can’t believe it’s already spring break and that March is almost over! Before you know it, spring semester classes will be finished and the summer will be here. This is probably not welcome news to those of you still struggling to find a summer internship.

If you aren’t finding opportunities that match your goals for an internship, it’s time to become more entrepreneurial in your search. Consider designing and pitching your own internship.

  1. Get your goals down on paper. What field are you trying to gain experience in? What do you hope to gain/learn from an internship? What kinds of daily tasks would you like to be involved with? Determine specific answers to these questions. If you need help defining tasks integral to the profession you’re trying to gain experience in, do some research by reading job postings or using resources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  2. Identify organizations in your geographic target area that could provide you the experience you’re seeking. Remember to think broadly. For example, you could find PR work at a PR firm, OR you could do this work for a small business or nonprofit organization. How do you figure out what organizations are out there? Use resources such as Chamber of Commerce websites, the phone book, and social media. Also, tap into your network to connect with potential organizations.
  3. Create an internship proposal. Make your proposal as specific as possible – it could be for a specific project of interest that would meet the organization’s needs or it could be for a specific role you know the organization is likely to have. Employer’s don’t have time for someone who will “do anything.” This is why the first step – determining your goals and tasks you wish to take on – is so important. Include the following items in your proposal:
    • A clear/concise description of what you are offering to do for the organization and why you think it will benefit them.
    • The specific project you want to work on or position you wish to fill.
    • Highlights of how you are the right person to do this work for the organization.
    • Your dates of availability and whether you are looking for full-time or part-time work.
    • A copy of your resume that illustrates your strengths and highlights the skills you possess.

When proposing an internship, be sure that you are connecting with the person who has the power to say yes. While an HR rep or department is a good place to start asking questions, they often do not have the power to hire you. Get referrals to managers or supervisors in the area you want to work.

I’m hearing of more and more students who are creating their own opportunities, and students who have done so have had amazing internship experiences. Yes, it takes a little more work, but the potential outcome is worth it. Finally, remember that you are not alone. Seek out assistance from Career & Leadership Development as you work through this process.

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Photo by BONGURI.