How to Get the Most Out of an Internship
By Davis Klimek, Account Executive
With so much importance placed on internship opportunities, making the most out of the experience can seem like a daunting task for new interns. Here are three pieces of advice for how to take full advantage of an internship experience so that it provides a beneficial and concrete learning opportunity.
The first and most important piece of advice for students is that you get out of your internship what you put into it. While this may seem like a cliché, it’s key to note that while the internship supervisor is there to facilitate your learning experience, they are also a full-time employee at the company and cannot hold your hand throughout the semester or summer. An internship is about facilitating your learning experience and honing your skill set in a specific field. It is important to vocalize the skills you want to develop, project your desire to work on something specific, and be adamant about what lessons you want to learn. If you don’t speak up and explain to your supervisor what you want to accomplish, you may finish your internship disappointed. Asking to work on projects that interest you and that you are passionate about will help facilitate and advance your knowledge of the industry.
The second piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are unsure about how to complete a certain task. When assigned a task by someone in the office, make sure that before they leave, you know exactly how to accomplish the task. While sometimes the best way to learn is to jump right in and try your hand at a certain project, it’s better to ask a million questions than to inconvenience an employee by making them stop what they are doing to fix your mistakes. According to an article post on Indeed.com, which features tips and tricks on how to succeed at your internship, making mistakes is part of the learning curve. It’s important to accept responsibility when things don’t go as planned and to take ownership and articulate possible solutions. This will result in faster resolution and enable your supervisor to see you as a leader. Asking questions will be viewed as you taking initiative and showing that you truly care about the work you’re doing for the company.
Lastly, it’s important to know that even the smallest things make the biggest differences. This relates to both first impressions and your work. For example, at my internship in LA this past spring, I was given a task to complete because the employee liked how I introduced myself at the beginning of the semester and thus she trusted me. Regarding work, a task may seem meaningless or like busy work, but surprise! It’s not. Tracking press coverage for a client may seem boring, but at the end of the day, it’s one less thing a very busy employee has to worry about, and they will be very thankful you completed it because it improves their often hectic workday.