Congratulations—you landed an internship! Now, you should being thinking about how to get the most out of it.
During the internship you, as the student, should have designated learning goals and should be able to reflect upon the entire internship experience in terms of the knowledge you have gained. Both you and the organization should benefit from an internship program.
What should I get out of the experience?
- You should be assigned a significant task/project that will benefit the organization and be educational for you as the intern, along with familiarizing yourself with the overall efforts of the organization.
- You should accomplish challenging, but realistic, responsibilities.
- Develop professional competencies needed for your future job search and career success.
- Utilize the knowledge of the professionals you will work with and find a professional mentor.
Before you start/On your first day: Learn more about your role!
- What will be my day-to-day responsibilities?
- Will I work on a team or individually?
- What is the overall structure of the company and how does your department fit within that structure?
- Why types of projects will I work on?
- How would you describe the company’s management style and culture?
Now that you know more about your role, set goals:
- Make specific and measurable goals—put these together with your supervisor.
- Network with other departments and colleagues.
- Demonstrate professionalism at all times: dress, communication and behavior.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your employer would rather have you ask than to do something incorrectly.
- Also don’t be afraid to ask for new projects—if you aren’t feeling challenged, ask how else you can help.
Update your résumé as you move through the internship so that at the end of the summer, you can go back and develop strong examples of things you completed and had an impact on as well as talk about measurable results.
Lastly, be flexible and have an open mind about the experience—you may have to do some things you don’t love, but that is part of figuring out what you are and aren’t passionate about! If you approach every responsibility, no matter what it is, with a positive attitude and great work ethic, you WILL get noticed.
Rebecca Damas, formerly the Assistant Director of the Taylor Family Undergraduate Career Center, is no longer with Daniels.