Making the Most of Your Internship
- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
Now that you have survived a competitive recruiting process and
landed an internship in the field of your choice, your tendency
might be to lean back and enjoy the ride. Nothing could be more
certain to result in a disappointing experience for both you and
your employer. While your role as an intern can be strictly or loosely
defined, you should arrive at the doorstep of your internship with
the attitude that you alone are responsible for making your internship
an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Below are tips on how you can capitalize on your experience and
make the most of your internship.
Before you accepted your internship you hopefully
investigated the kind of work you would be doing and clarified your
employer's expectations. With this information, you should set goals
about what you hope to leave your internship having learned or done.
Share your ambitions with the person or persons monitoring your
work and monitor your progress toward this goal throughout your
Learn as much as you can about the industry
or organization with which you are working. Read trade journals,
interact with people in different departments, and throw yourself
into your assignments. Go above and beyond the call of duty.
Always Do Your Best Work:
Even when doing clerical work or
rote tasks, do not complain or slack off. Keep in mind that your
supervisors need to know you are capable of small things before
they trust you with substantive tasks. Give all your work your best
Seek out opportunities to learn. Do the
work you are assigned, but don't wait to be asked to participate
in activities you find interesting. Ask questions and try to sit
in on meetings where decisions are made. By learning about the context
in which your work takes place, you have the opportunity to appreciate
the role you play as well as become involved in special projects.
Locate a Mentor:
In the early stages of your internship,
find a mentor who is open to meeting with you on a regular basis.
Try to have a standing lunch date every other Friday, for example.
Ideally, this person is the one who is monitoring your work, but
you might choose someone who happens to be engaged in interesting
work or expresses special interest in enriching your experience.
Ask this person questions about his or her career and what makes
them excited to be working for the firm or organization.
Dress appropriately for work and arrive
on time. Observe how colleagues interact with each other, but be
respectful of your place as an intern. Be sensitive to the fact
that administrative staff or other entry-level employees might resent
that you appear to have "leapfrogged" over them. Do not gossip about
coworkers, play office politics, or conduct personal business on
company time or with company resources, even if you see others engaged
in that behavior. Even in moments of stress, maintain a positive
Reflect on your Experience:
Throughout your internship reflect
on what you are observing and doing. Are you meeting your goals?
Analyze what you like or dislike about the work you are doing. Are
you excited about the industry or function you are performing? Does
this work suit your talent and temperament? Assess how your internship
has impacted your career goals. Where do you want to go from here?