Making the Most of Your Internship
Whether you are a student looking for workplace experience or a professional transitioning into a new field, internships are pivotal for bolstering your resume and expanding your professional network. According to the The National Association of Colleges and Employers, a reported 80 percent of employers view recruiting as a primary function of internships, meaning that employers often are scouting potential hires during the internship process.
For this post, I reached out to my professional acquaintances and asked them how they made the most of their internships and their advice to others who are either finishing up an internship or planning to begin one in the future.
Gabrielle Doraisamy, Marketing Specialist at ASSET Marketing Services
“If there’s one thing that I could pass on to future interns, it would be to dress up, show up, and contribute…Companies crave new (and free) ideas! Since it’s true, you’re only young once, use it to your advantage. As an intern, you have the incredible opportunity to provide a point of view that many executives do not have.
If you allow yourself to research and pitch an opinion or idea, many times, you will encounter a win-win scenario.
Win #1 – You are learning how to present your opinion in a professional setting.
Win #2 – You are giving possible hiring professionals a glimpse into what you can bring to the company if hired post-internship.
Worst case scenario – your idea isn’t positively received. I still consider this a win because you’re an intern who is trying. You still have the safety of operating under the umbrella of not being expected to know everything – trust me, you’ll miss this later in life.
When your internship is about to conclude, I would encourage every motivated intern to purchase a thank you card and hand-write (when was the last time you picked up a pencil anyways?) a thoughtfully worded “thank you” to the professionals you worked with. In the message, add a personal note explaining what you enjoyed about working with someone. These are the touches that make you stand out. Place the card in the envelope and say a prayer because you never know, you could be sealing the deal.”
Mary Stewart, Director of Communications at Mobilize Rescue Systems
“A communications internship at a busy startup accidentally taught me the value of taking initiative. The first few weeks I only accomplished what was on the job description, but it wasn’t long before I realized my boss was too busy to create new tasks. Sitting at a computer, waiting for direction, and not wanting to bother any of my colleagues – I decided to do what I thought would help the company.
I re-wrote the outdated content on the website, page by page. It might have been a small contribution, but when my boss stopped by to apologize for not keeping me busy, he saw that I was capable of not only solving problems but finding them as well. More importantly, I learned my worth as an intern wasn’t limited to a sheet of paper with a list of tasks. So my advice? You have a role in defining your internship – make it yours!’
For more information on how to find or make the most out of an internship, you can visit sites like the Career Contessa, Way Up, or LinkedIn. Best of luck to our readers who are currently finishing up an internship or beginning one in the future!
For more resources on professional development and relationship building, you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.