Note from Leonard: From time to time, experts with something great to say ask if they can be included on this blog. When their information will complement and add to the ongoing discussion here, I am excited to present them. Today’s post is from Rose Jensen about how college students can truly benefit from an internship. Rose offers a great list of specific tips. These are mostly pretty simple to do yet can yield a lot of information and future benefit (plus make your internship more engaging and fun).
As a college student, one of the most valuable ways you can prepare for your career is to get an internship. Even if your internship doesn’t lead to the exact career path you end up choosing, you’ll gain hands-on professional experience, make contacts in the industry, learn a new set of marketable skills, and prove your reliability and commitment. Internships are also great ways to explore a field and determine whether or not you’d like to continue in that industry after graduation. But before you get too complacent just because you’ve been selected for an internship, check out these 10 tips for making sure you make the most out of your experience.
1. Show up on time. Being punctual gets you huge points in the dependability department, and if you’re always available whenever your boss needs you, you can expect a great recommendation letter when you leave.
2. Get to know everyone in the office. You might feel intimidated at first, but make a point to chat a little with each person in the office as a way of learning more about the industry and building up your contacts.
3. Ask questions. Internships are learning experiences, so the more questions you ask about the industry in general and your specific to-do list, can only help.
4. Set goals. Determine what you want to get out of the internship and set goals for achieving it. With a more focused outlook, you’ll be more efficient at achieving your goals.
5. Be positive. Don’t kid yourself: interns often have to schlep papers, get coffee and do a lot of filing. Just be grateful that you’ve got something to add to your resume and an inside look at the job you may one day have.
6. Take on more tasks. Even if it isn’t offered, don’t be afraid to take on greater responsibility and help out more in general if you can handle it. You’ll meet more people and demonstrate your capability.
7. Send a thank you note. After your last day, send thank you notes to everyone you worked with in the office. It’s not always necessary, but going beyond what’s expected will ensure you leave on a positive note.
8. Attend special events. Offer to help out at special events to increase your exposure and networking opportunities.
9. Be professional. Even though everyone recognizes you’re still the college kid, acting professionally and as if you could fit into the office culture will help your chances of getting a job after you graduate.
10. Ask for an exit interview. Spend a few minutes with your manager to go over your demonstrated strengths and weaknesses. This meeting will also help you figure out what to include on your resume.