Internships are no longer a simple suggestion on your career path, they’ve become a requirement. And they are invaluable, as they allow you to gain an insider’s perspective in the industry you’re aiming to penetrate following graduation, as I’m doing currently with my PR internship at the Bradford Group! Internships can catapult your career, whether it be through networking opportunities or the prospect of landing a position at the very company where you once interned. There are countless reasons why an internship is essential to your success, so once you land one, here are a few ways to ensure you’re milking it for all it’s worth.
Network as much as possible, with absolutely every person you come in contact with during the length of your internship. Take advantage of company-sponsored happy hours and social events to make connections. The people you work with probably know others in the surrounding area who may own or work in comparable businesses or hold influential positions. You never know who will give you your next big break, so don’t burn any bridges, and as you meet people, get their business card or email address, and maintain the relationship.
One of the advantages of being in the intern position is the opportunity to ask questions. You’re expected to be somewhat green and inquire about what’s going on in the company and how to tackle certain projects. Use this to your advantage – questions will help you do your job correctly, plus they show you possess a genuine interest, which will inevitably impress your employer and supervisors.
Write everything down Get in the habit of carrying a pen and notebook with you everywhere in the office.
Get in the habit of carrying a pen and notebook with you everywhere in the office.
Keeping notes of the office happenings is not only helpful when executing projects and tasks, but also to reflect on your experiences. Get in the habit of carrying a pen and notebook with you everywhere in the office. Whether you’re going to get a new assignment from a supervisor or simply sitting in on a meeting, it’s imperative to be able to jot down notes and tasks, as well as personal thoughts and comments, at anytime during your internship. You may get a great idea for a client project while sitting in on a meeting for an entirely different account, or you may need to refer back to something that someone said. When you have a record of all of your ideas, thoughts and projects, you can also reference them in the future — even years down the road.
With today’s job market being as competitive as it is, internships are an important resource to advance your career and set you apart from the competition. We’ve all heard the horror stories of internships that only include the task of providing fresh coffee for the entire office, so it’s important to realize that just as you expect the company to challenge you and provide you with real world experience, you need to put in the work to ensure you’re taking full advantage of everything your internship has to offer. The age-old saying still remains: You get out what you put in. So, make sure you’re putting in your all to ensure you receive all there is to gain from your internship.