If you intern right, you’ll never be bored! Here are some tips to get more from your internship, especially as you become more comfortable at your site and in your role. The key is to be proactive.
Is there a meeting you would like to sit in and observe? An extra project you would like to complete? Just ask. Your internship supervisor will be impressed at your initiative, given that you’re completing your current internship tasks in a thorough and timely manner. Even if you cannot sit in on that meeting, you supervisor will be aware that you’re interested and might give you other opportunities to network with those people or learn the same information.
Go above and beyond.
Completing tasks to the best of your ability is a great way to show your supervisor and coworkers that you’re ready for more responsibility. In addition, finishing tasks early will communicate that you are ready for another task or more responsibility. It can be easy for interns to slip into procrastination techniques if they have ample time to complete tasks, which can also prevent them from making the most of the internship experience.
Be open and enthusiastic.
As you know by now, interns never have the same day twice! You’re often asked to fill in where needed and have several opportunities to step outside your professional comfort zone. Accepting these tasks with an open mind and enthusiasm will do two things: demonstrate your maturity and professionalism to your supervisor while at the same time expanding your professional skill set. Your attitude during your internship will make a lasting impression which can recommend you for full-time opportunities long after it’s over.
Network, and keep your ears open for networking opportunities.
Networking at your internship shouldn’t be confined to your supervisor and coworkers, but should include other interns, people from other departments or organizations, clients, etc. Locate a professional you admire during your internship and offer to take him or her out for lunch or coffee to learn more about their career path and learn their advice for you. You may ask your supervisor for additional suggestions of contacts whose career paths are similar to your interests. Keep in mind that networking is not 100% about the number of contacts you have, but also the quality of the professional relationship between yourself and the people in your network.
Join LinkedIn, if you have not already.
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) has been dubbed “the professional’s Facebook.” From the website, LinkedIn “connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.” LinkedIn is especially valuable for you as you build your professional network and create a professional online presence. You can use LinkedIn to connect with and stay in touch with people you meet through your internship. Go to http://learn.linkedin.com/students/ for a great video example of how a student used LinkedIn to locate a job.
Ask for advice and feedback.
One of the many great things about internships is that you have an opportunity to openly ask questions about your career path and your next job. You can get valuable advice about what you need to do to stand out from the candidate pool in your job search. There’s nothing wrong with openly asking for career advice, as long as it is done tactfully. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask what additional skills and knowledge you need to develop to be poised for that full-time job.