If you’ve found a great internship that fits your career aspirations, that’s great! The first big internship challenge is simply finding one. Completing an internship is one thing–and getting the most out of an internship is another. To avoid walking away from the internship thinking “I could have done more,” it’s important to talk to your internship supervisor at the beginning of the internship process about the structure of your internship. Which projects will you complete? What are your goals for your time there? What skills do you want to walk away with once the internship is complete? Even though your internship site will give you projects and assignments, interning is a great opportunity for you to be proactive.
Ways to be proactive at your internship site:
- Think of meetings or events you can attend as an intern that will help you learn more about the career field, and run them by your supervisor to make sure it is appropriate for you to attend.
- Keep your supervisor updated on your internship progress- both successes and challenges. S/he is there to guide you and is a great springboard for your ideas!
- If you believe you have extra time during your internship and would be energized by a new project, talk to your supervisor (as long as the tasks you are assigned are completed, and completed well). An internship supervisor may be unaware you have time to tackle an additional project.
- Think of a new project, initiative, or idea that you can work on as an intern that might be meaningful for your site and introduce it to your supervisor. Before you do, make sure you have the time to accomplish it during the scope of your internship AND your suggestion has been thought out and makes sense for the organization.
- Network with fellow interns and co-workers to learn more about them, their positions, and career paths within the organization.
- It’s always a good idea to find a mentor (whether that person is your direct supervisor or not) to learn from. You can ask them questions, ask for career information and advice, and serve as a sounding board for your ideas and concerns.