After a long year off, many internship programs are back in action this summer.
If you’re a college or university student or recent grad getting started on your internship journey, here are a few essential tips to help you get the most out of your experience.
1. Meet your coworkers.
Columbia University suggests, “Try to have contact with each person and get a sense of what they do. You never know when someone else in the company is doing something that might interest you later down the line.”
2. Set goals.
To ensure you understand your role, ask questions of your supervisor. What are your daily responsibilities? What projects will you complete? By outlining specifics, you can see how your internship goals align with your professional interests and goals. Meet with your supervisor to learn if there are additional opportunities to get involved in areas that appeal to you.
3. Watch + listen.
From Columbia University: “Watch and seek guidance from your colleagues and peers. What are the routines of the organization? Of the people?” Instead of jumping in without direction, seek first to understand more about the company, its culture and your role in providing value for the organization.
4. Be aware of how you present yourself.
Dress appropriately, address colleagues professionally in emails and on other digital channels. And never overlook the basics: be punctual, be courteous, say please and thank you and follow through on your responsibilities. If you don’t understand a task or you need assistance, ask for help.
5. Stay organized.
Take notes during meetings and calls and use to-do lists to keep track of daily tasks and project deadlines. Be sure to store your digital files per company policy to ensure your work is appropriately stored and accessible in your absence.
6. Show initiative.
Stay busy—and when there is a lull in your workload, let your supervisor know. You might offer to help a teammate or even suggest a new project that you could manage to help accomplish your team’s goals.
7. Use your social skills.
As a Gen Z, you offer a unique skill set to companies. Entrepreneur magazine explains, “Today’s interns — ‘born’ with smartphones in their hands — show up ready and able to contribute to leading-edge strategies in meaningful ways.” For example, if marketing is part of your internship role, spend some time brainstorming social media ideas to suggest for greater brand exposure or reach.
8. Keep track of your projects.
Columbia University offers excellent advice: “Start a list of all of the projects you have worked on so that you can discuss your progress with your supervisor. It will also help you remember everything you’ve worked on to update your resume, add to a portfolio or talk about in a future interview.”
9. Be agreeable.
We all want to do “real” work, but don’t overlook the importance of menial tasks or grunt work. You might be bored or feel like what you’re doing isn’t important work, but it’s still experience. Embracing that role with a can-do attitude says a lot about you as a team player.
10. Ask for feedback.
If your internship program doesn’t include an exit interview or formal review, seek input from your supervisor and other colleagues. Use that information to identify your strengths and learn which areas you need to develop.
11. Grow your network.
Work to create relationships with your colleagues during your internship. And then, maintain these relationships even after your internship ends. You’ll have connections to rely on when it comes time to apply for jobs or look for professional development training opportunities.
We’re excited to have two interns working with us this summer in our Cleveland office at Shamrock. They’ll be rotating through all departments, learning about every aspect of our business. Stay tuned for Takeover Thursdays where our interns will take over our social media accounts. Be sure to watch for their updates and remember to celebrate your interns on July 29th, National Intern Day.