Friday, April 29, 2011

Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

At last week’s pre-departure orientation meeting we reviewed business etiquette, professionalism, and what it means to be a successful intern. And while we touched on the importance of making the most of your summer, I wish we’d had the time to really break it down for these students about to set off on what could really be a vital career exploration experience. For those of you soon-to-be-interns, here’s some advice on making the most out of your experience:
  • Ask to help out on the projects you’re interested in. Don’t wait to be asked, rather inquire as to whether you could take on some additional responsibilities helping out on that project that has really piqued your interest. Not only will you demonstrate you’re a high achiever and self-starter, but you’ll have the chance to take on some interesting work you might not otherwise have had access to.
  • Shadow and/or talk to people outside your department. Many students take, for-instance, a marketing internship, but are also considering human resources as a possible career path. If you’re at a company or organization that has other departments you might be interested in, see if you can spend a day or an afternoon not only building your network, but getting a feel for what this kind of work is like. Once you’re a couple of weeks in, talk to your supervisor and see about arranging an informational interview or a shadowing opportunity with others in the company.
  • Ask smart questions. Don’t understand something? Want to learn more about a company project? Wonder what it means to be “Executive Assistant to the Vice President?” ASK!

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