Summer is almost upon us and with it, for many students, comes Internship Season. Whether it’s your first internship out in the “real world” or you’re an internship-seasoned pro, here are five reminders to help guarantee your internship is as successful as your blossoming career!
1. No job is too small.
It may not seem like you’re gaining valuable experience while digging through filing cabinets or creating what feels like your 5 billionth spreadsheet. In times of frustration remember all experience is good experience and maintaining a solid work ethic will most likely put you at the front of the line when the more interesting projects come along.
2. There’s power in networking.
Internships are a perfect time to develop or expand your network: a network that is likely to be an immense resource to you in the future. College student and current intern Haley Zeldes says she has networking to thank for multiple internship opportunities. “Networking is an invaluable tool for securing and being successful in an internship. Starting conversations with employees on all levels and continuing those conversations throughout the summer or during the search process is integral to having people in the company know you and want you to work there permanently. The key is finding common ground with people that you can bring up in future conversations so they remember you in a unique way. Reach out to catch up with these connections over coffee or just a quick 15 minutes of your time, and connect with them on LinkedIn to keep the connections going and ultimately build a professional network of support.”
3. Ask questions.
Your internship is above all a learning opportunity so don’t be afraid to ask questions! Whether you are confused or just plain curious, asking questions is always okay. It’s better to ask than to assume and being afraid to request clarification can lead to preventable errors in your work. If it’s before a deadline and it’s an inconvenient moment to ask your supervisor multiple questions, try jotting down your inquiries and bring them up during a more opportune time.
4. Keep a career journal.
A career journal is an excellent way to record what you are learning during your assignment. You can write down your daily duties and contributions as well as any inspiring lessons learned from managers or even your peers. You’ll be thankful for something tangible to look back on and it will make a great reference for specific skills and work experience when you’re writing your resume.
*Bonus- Start your journal before you begin your actual internship! Think of some skills you would like to have or improve upon and track your progress during your assignment.
5. End on a high note.
When your internship comes to an end it’s important to express your gratitude. Something as simple as a handwritten card or sending out a couple of emails to the people who have helped you will always be appreciated. After you leave, remember the importance of networking. Your internship contacts may prove to be useful when you’re in need of professional references so keep in touch!