How to make the most of your internship
A good internship can be more valuable to your career than a college degree. Here’s how to make the most of it..
The first days at a new internship can seem daunting, and intimidating. You’re not sure where to begin, your new supervisor wears these killer stilettos that almost make you wish heels didn’t exist, you slowly start becoming a caffeine addict and the tasks that lay ahead of you seem time consuming and confusing.
Looking back at my first days as an intern in New York City, I remember wishing there was a book titled, “What I knew about my internships before I got the job.” But after running around to Staples and FedEx, balancing 10 Starbucks coffees at the same time and having to go back just to get the right temperature, I am now a little bit of an expert in the field.
In order to learn the most and come out as the most valuable intern to your company, my advice is this simple: tackle everything from the beginning and get to work! The secret to having a successful internship lies within yourself. Work hard from the minute you land the job, and go above and beyond your supervisor’s expectations.
Introduce yourself to everyone within the company – from the Junior Account Executives to the Director and CEO. Smile and be positive. Arrive early and be the last one leaving the office and more importantly; always keep yourself busy! If you are done with your tasks of the day, ask another one of the Account Executives if they need an extra hand. Or why not ask one of your fellow interns? Your colleagues will eventually start to recognize your effort and eventually give you more responsibilities. And what hard working, successful woman doesn’t want to take on more responsibility?!
Having a great attitude and positive outlook can help you climb the corporate internship ladder. If you start your internship with a positive attitude, it will spill over into the quality of work that you do. When your supervisor gives you tasks, be enthusiastic and eager to start working on the new project!
As a PR girl, I was told to build up a strong network of contacts. That meant networking with as many PR professionals and Editors as possible. Looking back on it now, that must have been the best advice I’ve received in my career so far. To get the most out of your internship make sure you network and keep in touch with every professional in the industry that you have built a relationship with. I once heard of someone who wrote down every single person they met in a little journal, and that inspired me to start a journal myself!
Many people I meet say that a good internship can be more valuable to your career than a college degree. Down the road your internship supervisor could write you a great recommendation for a full-time job or maybe once you graduate your boss can put you in touch with other great industry leaders. You never know what networking will be able to do for you, and that’s the best part! You will gain so much more from your internship if you learn how to network and connect with the right people around you.
If you ask me, the best part about being an intern is the amount of knowledge you gain and the experiences you’ll have when landing a job. Even if you’re not thrilled about getting a cup (or three) of coffee for your boss, let that positive attitude shine and get that cup of coffee with a smile on your face. Even if you have ten tasks ahead of you for that day, sit down and focus and get to work. Your internship will only help you become a better professional in the industry and help you landing your dream job!