Internships are great ways to gain experience in your career field, network with other professionals in the industry and get your foot in the door at an organization you may want to work for. The position might only last a few months, so how can you make sure you maximize the time you spend as an intern?
Make a Lasting Impression
An internship is often the first step toward building your career, so you want to impress everyone you come into contact with at the organization, from the janitor to the CEO. You never know what opportunities could come from your internship experience.
“It’s important to make a good impression at your internship because, a lot of times, an internship has the possibility to turn into a full-time, paid position,” says Jessica Spanswick, director of career services for Globe University.
Spanswick says the most important thing you can do to make a lasting impression is to be a self-starter. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond what you are assigned.
“Take the initiative by showing that you want to learn more and make a difference within the company,” she says. “Internships can be structured, but they also can be a bit more ambiguous, so make sure you take the opportunity to create your own projects, if possible.”
Listen and Learn
As an intern, you want to soak up as much information as possible. Spanswick says you should ask questions of your coworkers and mentors, or even shadow them for a day.
“During your first couple days, be sure to go around to everyone who works there and introduce yourself face-to-face,” suggests Spanswick. “Ask them out to coffee or lunch to pick their brain about how to succeed in the company or how they got to where they are.”
More than likely, professionals who have been in your shoes will be more than willing to help you out by discussing their personal journeys and offering advice.
Ask for References
There is no doubt that the experience you gain at an internship can benefit you in the future, but Spanswick says it’s also important to maintain relationships with people in the company. Keep in touch so that you can use them for a reference later on.
“As your internship ends, follow up with the most important people you worked with,” she says. “Connect with them on LinkedIn, and send them a message every few months updating them on what you’re doing and asking what’s new with them. That way, when you call them for a future reference, it will be that much more valid.
Go Above and Beyond
Taking the initiative to do more than you are asked will go a long way. Spanswick says you’ll be sure to impress your supervisors and potential future employers by stepping outside of your day-to-day duties.
“Employers are looking for candidates who seek out ways to make their job bigger and better,” says Spanswick. “Approach a mentor or coworker and ask what you can help them with, or tell them you’d like to learn more about what they do in their department.”
Use your internship to your advantage by learning everything you can, networking with coworkers and taking the initiative to do more. You’ll impress your superiors and be that much closer to landing a full-time position in your chosen field. To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit www.globeuniversity.edu/about-us/career-services.