There are only two weeks left to my summer and I’m just now writing my first blog post since April. Little did I know just how busy I would be. Since I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I learned last semester, I want to share some tips for experiencing a successful internship that I gained from personal experience and watching others intern.
1. Look at the glass half-full: Every internship is a great opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you. It may not be all that it was cracked up to be or you may discover you don’t want to do something for a living after all, but you can still glean some important lessons from your experience.
2. Be humble: You don’t know what you don’t know. And what you don’t know is A LOT. Enter each day with an open mind, a willing attitude and a teachable spirit.
3. Grow thick skin: Don’t take criticism personally. Business is business and if you learn to develop a tough exterior now, you’ll go far. Instead of taking what your supervisor says to heart, remember his/her advice for when you work on future assignments.
4. Practice professionalism: To my disbelief, there are college students who’ve never dialed an extension or can’t make a phone call without stumbling over their words. Writing out a script before you make an important call can help you, but don’t read it word for word. Also, it’s very easy for people to read what you say in an email the wrong way or blow your email off because they don’t take you seriously. Be poised and professional, and remember that you not only represent the business you’re an intern for, but your personal brand, as well.
5. Be self-motivated: If you’ve finished all of the work you were assigned, don’t sit around acting like you haven’t. You will be found out and it doesn’t make you look like you want to be there.
6. Don’t be timid: Yes, I know you’re saying “But, I’m only an intern.” This doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to anyone in the office or get to know them. By no means am I advising you to spend all of your time socializing, but don’t feel like you always have to make yourself invisible.
7. Say “yes”: Take advantage of any task that’s thrown your way. The more you get your hands on, the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll be able to determine what it is that you’re really passionate about.
8. Remember: When your supervisor corrects your work or suggests you complete a task a different way, jot it down if that’s what it’ll take for you to remember it. No one likes to repeat themselves so pay attention the first time.