It can easily seem as though the most difficult stage of being an intern takes place before you ever clock in for your first day – as you search for, apply to, interview for, and ultimately are selected for a position! However, landing the position is only a fraction of what it takes to create a quality experience.
According to the CareerSpots video – Make the Most of Internships – there are three main things that interns should do to achieve maximum benefit during their experience.
- Start building your network immediately
- Understand your value to the organization by making connections between what you’re doing and how it impacts the department/company
- Execute your work (and do it well)
A few words of warning are also offered: be careful with how involved you are in extra-curricular activities during your internship time-frame. You need to be able to devote your attention fully to your internship (and your studies, of course!), something that can be difficult when you’re also stretched thin between multiple activities and organizations.
Additional actions for making the most of your internship are laid out in our Career TIP Sheet: Best Practices for Student Interns. For example, set goals as part of your pre-internship planning to help you identify opportunities that match your interests and needs. Thoughtful goal setting also helps you to articulate what you are hoping to learn during your internship to your site supervisor. During your internship, maintain communication with your supervisor to be sure you understand expectations and assignments. Ask for feedback regularly and keep a journal to track and reflect upon your activities. At the end of your internship, make a plan for maintaining your new networking connections and practice articulating your experience.
An internship is meant to be a vital part of your college experience to build career-related skills, work habits, and attitudes. It’s entirely for your benefit that you make the most of it!