The first step to a successful internship is being able to identify what industry and position you are interested in working. This will require you to think intentionally about your experience and work to align it with your career goals. Some things to think about include: the environment you want to work in, the projects or tasks you would enjoy completing, and your own professional goals.
The wonderful part about an internship is that you have the opportunity to ask a lot of questions. Take this time to become educated about the company or organization you are interning with, understand the structure, mission and function of the work space. Your site supervisor is there to serve as your mentor and resources of information. Don’t be shy about asking the why or how questions, they understand that this is a learning experience for you and are there to support you.
Don’t be afraid to jump right in when you start you internship, this is your chance to gain on the job experience and really engage in hands-on learning within your field of interest. Take on any and every project you have the chance to do, whether it is large or small, it will show your commitment and work ethic and likely lead to other projects during your internship. Actively engage with your co-workers and be a team player, this will enrich the experience for everyone.
Really take this opportunity to learn from those around you, especially the individuals who have been in the industry for a while, ask them about their experience and how they got to where they are today. Conduct on the job informational interviews with someone whose position interests you or you could see yourself doing that job in the future. This is your opportunity to learn from them and engage in meaningful conversations about their experience and to form a solid network that will carry on outside of the internship.
The foundation of experiential education is on the element of reflection done throughout your experience and at the completion. And in order to develop a summary of the skills and knowledge you learned both professionally and personally, reflecting on your experience is essential. This will also help you to articulate to an employer in an interview or conversation what the key points and skills you developed from your internship experience were and what you will bring to the next position or experience you have.
What are other tips to a successful internship? Please leave a comment below.
Posted by Ciara Lynn, Career Services Internship Coordinator