So you’ve managed to score a summer internship. Good for you, you’re actually being proactive and working towards making your future career goals a reality! But no matter if you’re interning for school credit or just to get some hands-on experience in your field, you need to make sure that you leave your internship with the proper skills and knowledge that will help get you a job when you graduate. But how to make sure that you don’t get stuck as the office barista and actually learn something from this opportunity? Follow the tips below.
Discuss Short-term and Long-term Goals from the Very Beginning. If you didnâ€™t have the opportunity to express exactly what you would like to earn/learn from your internship experience during your interview, it’s important that you weave-in your future goals with your employer early onâ€”as early as your first day on the job. It can be brought up in simple conversation: “Thank you again so much for the opportunity I really look forward to learning how to do xyz.” This way, your employer knows that you’re there to actually do more than check-emails and answer phone calls; he or she can also think more about what assignments and activities will help you meet your goals.
Network. The first week of your internship you want to make sure that you network and start to build your contactsâ€”these people will not only be able to show you the ropes but also might be able to give you a job in the future (or at least put you in contact with someone who will). So make your rounds in the office and introduce yourself to everyone, even those who aren’t in your department. Also make sure to offer your assistance: “If there’s anything you might need help with while I’m here, be sure to let me know.” As you start to get more comfortable with your new temporary co-workers you might want to start thinking about adding them on social media sites. Of course make sure your profile(s) are cleaned up and “professional.”
Ask Questions.Â Your daily tasks will vary from day-to-day. No matter what you’re assigned to do however, make sure that you give everything 100 percent. You want your employer to know that you are a go-getter and are capable of executing assignments. If you don’t understand how you’re supposed to complete your assignment or you’re genuinely curious about how a sector of the industry works, speak up and ask questions. Employers would rather you do it right the first time and will be impressed that you’re so inquisitive. Plus, you’ll learn something new. If you feel cheated because your assignments aren’t challenging enough ask for more work or try to see if there are other ways you can compensate. Perhaps you can attend a board meeting, attend your department’s weekly brainstorming session, or shadow an employee. In order to get these kinds of insider opportunities however, sometimes you have to ask. So again, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Volunteer. If you finish your assignments early, don’t just clock out and head home early. Instead, use this time to show your ambition and do more. Preferably, try to learn something that will make you a more three-dimensional employee in the future. For example, if you’re interning at your local newspaper and have submitted your daily article early, take the extra time to learn about different sectors of the paper such as graphic design, copy editing or even marketing. This will help beef up your resume and teach you skills that will make you a more desirable applicant. You also want to volunteer. If there are other interns who work with you and your employer asks, “Who would like to do xyz” always step up and volunteer. Even if your employer doesn’t pick you because he or she thinks another intern is a better fit for that particular task, at least he or she knows that you attempted to step up. All of these things will be taken into consideration if you ever ask your internship manager for a letter of recommendation or as a source of reference when applying for future internships or jobs.
By-line: Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs aboutÂ accredited online colleges.Â She welcomes your comments at her email Id:Â alvina.lopez @gmail.com.Â