Internships are what you make them. If you’re showing up 30 minutes late and chomping your gum entirely too loud, you may want to consider how you’re carrying yourself. An internship is your opportunity to showcase your skills and potentially open the door to a full-time job. You won’t get those benefits, however, if you’re just counting down the hours until you can Netflix and chill.
As a current intern at KM&A and with prior experience at other organizations, we asked Elly for tips that will set up other interns for success. Want to make the most of your internship? Read on, Donkey Kong.
First and foremost, introduce yourself to everyone. Also, make an effort to have contact with everyone and get a sense of what they do. You never know when someone else in the company is doing something that might interest you in the future.
What are you expected to accomplish every day? Every week? Make sure to request feedback from your supervisor to make sure you are on the right track. Keep in mind what your own goals are for your internship and what you would like to learn. Discuss your interests with your supervisor and ask if there are opportunities to get involved in those specific areas. Setting goals throughout your internship will allow you to have a better sense of success.
Learning the company’s work culture is incredibly important. Recognize routines and seek guidance from your peers. They’ve all been where you are. They’ll have great insight and advice for you. All you simply have to do is ask.
Show up on time or better yet, early. How you present yourself to your co-workers and peers is key. Don’t forget the basics of common courtesy, though. Always say “thank you,” and when you follow up, always follow through.
If things are slow, make sure to let your supervisor know. Generate ideas on what your team is looking for and share them. Be enthusiastic and willing to do grunt work; everyone must do it at one point or another.
Take notes during all meetings and keep to-do lists of tasks and deadlines. Also, don’t forget to keep your workspace neat so that your work is organized and out of the way when you’re not around.
Always complete projects on time and when one task is done – ask for another. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your supervisor about prioritizing your work. Only you know how much you can handle at one time. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your limitations. Pay attention to what is time-sensitive and what can be done later.
Part of an internship experience is to build a portfolio and gain real-world work experience. Start a list of all the projects so that you can discuss your progress with your supervisor. Creating a list will also help you remember everything you’ve worked on to update your resume, add to a portfolio or talk about what you did in a future interview.
Finding a mentor can provide you guidance through your internship and be a bridge to professional networks and learning opportunities. They won’t give you a complete roadmap to success, but they can serve as a trusted source of feedback. Pick someone who you admire and have specific skills that you want to develop.
Be sure to ask your supervisor and co-workers for feedback on your performance so that you can learn what you’ve done well and what areas need improvement. Reflect on the skills you’ve gained during your internship and update your resume with your experiences and accomplishments. Even if you decide that this career field is not right for you, the experience is still valuable.
An internship is more than another task to check off on your way to a college degree. When you make the most of your internship, you are taking the first step toward a meaningful and rewarding career. Interested in interning at KM&A? They’re hiring for a summer internship. Get to it!