Gaining Valuable Experience as a Summer Intern
The end of summer is approaching and so is your summer internship. So how do you leave? You have spent most of your summer hours in the office and have been able to add some valuable bullets to your resume. For most of you, your internship was your first experience to what it’s like post-graduation. You spent your time at the bottom with a view of the top and now have a better understanding of what you may or may not like.
As an intern at Kane Partners, I had access to behind the scenes of the staffing and social media divisions. I was able to sit in on meetings and learn about projects in place or coming up, and had the opportunity to contribute to the team where I was needed.
My advice to any intern is below. It’s important to not forget that this is a learning experience, and that you have the ability to contribute and build a reputation for yourself and your recommendation for your future job.
Being present isn’t enough. Make a positive impression and be reliable by arriving early and ready to attack the day. It will be noted that you are not only showing up on time, but also you will be prepared and won’t feel rushed first thing in the morning. You now have the opportunity to look ahead at your schedule for the day and avoid any distractions that could prevent you from starting your day on time. It’s important to know that just because you are present in the office, doesn’t mean you are making a positive impact. Be reliable and be accountable.
Dress for Success
The way you dress is a direct reflection of you carry yourself. Layout and prepare your outfit the night before, you will be less rushed in the morning and will already have a good mindset to start your day. Not only will you look good, but you will be respected in the office and it will give you that extra boost of confidence which will bring out your best effort.
Be a Vacuum
Suck up all of the information during your experience. How do you do that? Start by being prepared; always have a pen and paper when it a meeting. The employers understand you’re an intern and don’t expect you to know everything. Take notes of the important information given and the answers to any questions you have. After each meeting, don’t be afraid to communicate and ask questions. What someone says and what you hear may be two different things. Whenever I was given a project or task, I would repeat it back to make sure my boss and myself were on the same page. It ended up being extremely helpful to clarify the project before I got started. It’s better to ask questions on the front end than to waste time doing something incorrectly. Make it a habit to communicate.
Don’t be a Sitting Duck
It is understood that some of the work you are given may take you a little longer to complete. Instead of waiting until you are finished to tell your boss you are done, give him or her a heads up that you are almost finished. This communication is helpful and will avoid you just sitting there killing time. You will learn quick that there is always something to do, and it is in your best interest to always see what is next available for you to complete.
End on a High Note
During the last week of your internship, find time to ask your boss how to stay connected. Connect with your co-workers on LinkedIn, and ask if they will be available to use them as a reference for your first job. Chances are, if you put your best foot forward during your experience they will say yes.
What would you say about your overall experience? You either enjoyed it or you didn’t, so be honest with yourself. Ask your boss if they have a standard summary you can use for your resume. If they don’t, put together your own and see if they can modify it for you.
An internship is the best time for you to learn and observe. Have a positive mindset each day in the office and be eager to learn. You have to start somewhere.