Your internship supervisor is most likely not going to be the “Devil Wears Prada,” intimidatingly powerful, always impeccably dressed, type of man or woman. Your supervisor will be there to help you navigate the tricky, exciting and stressful waters of your internship, and want to see you grow in your career.
That being said, the minute you walk into the office on the first day of your internship, start a conversation with your supervisor! Start building a relationship right away so that by the end of your internship you have transformed your supervisor into a mentor! Ask your supervisor for career advice, management tips and how to balance all the daily tasks thrown your way!
Every supervisor has been in your position. They all had to make the Starbucks coffee run while having to answer three emails on their Blackberry at the same time. They know what it’s like to be in your position and trust me, they are there to help you get ahead in your career.
The great thing about the marketing/fashion and PR industry is that people are often very friendly. We are trained to talk all day, network, and make new friends with people we barely know. That’s why I think it’s a fantastic idea to ask your supervisor to go out for a cup of coffee or a casual lunch. Not only will they appreciate the effort and invite, but you will gain an incredible amount of knowledge and create your very own career mentor.
Make sure you always have a clear line of communication with your supervisor during your internship and ask questions. But not too many questions. My rule is, if you have a question, first ask yourself, then ask one of your fellow interns. If they don’t know your answer, wait for the right opportunity to ask your supervisor. In PR and any equivalent industry, asking the right questions make you seem more focused, creative, and attentive you appear.
When all your work is done, and you are heading home for the night, make sure you say goodbye to your supervisor and before you leave ask if there is any final work she/he needs you to help out with. This is crucial if you want to maintain a relationship and leave a lasting impression. While you’re saying goodbye, make some small talk! Ask them if they read the tabloids that day and heard about the latest celebrity news, or if they plan on checking out the iPhone 5, or even ask them if they have any weekend plans. This small step to create a personal connection will show your supervisor that you can relate to them, even outside the workplace.
Building a relationship with your supervisor is not only important for your current internship, but also very important for future internships and career paths. I stress the point about turning your supervisor into a mentor. Once your internship is over, if you have built a solid relationship with them, feel free to ask them for advice, letters of recommendation, or about other career opportunities.
Maintain those monthly coffee dates if you have succeeded to become close with them, and no matter what, always send an occasional email asking how things are going. Before you know it, those “Devil Wears Prada” supervisor nightmares will be something of the past, and you will soon be having a great new mentor!