5 Ways to Make the Most Out of an Internship

So, I totally forgot to post last night, whoops! Better late then never? I feel like excuses are useless on a personal blog, but I’m gonna explain anyway. It’s the last week of a super challenging online course I’ve been doing, so I’ve mostly been preoccupied with that. It’s also the last week of my internship, so I gotta wrap up some projects there. I’m also moving back to Colorado on Friday so packing has been an adventure. Craziness!

But anyway, back at it! As this is the last week of my internship, I thought it would be appropriate to have a blog post dedicated to that. So, here are some tips for getting the most out of an internship:

1) Learn as much as you can

This may seem like a no-brainer, but this is so important! As an intern, you’re not just there to complete projects or take care of small tasks. What separates your roll from that of a full time employee is that it is your job to learn. That’s half, if not most, of the reason you’re there! Make sure you soak in as much as you can. If you’re like me, you’re taking notes on anything you think would be important to know later on.

While learning, make sure to pay special attention to three key things:

  1. Yourself: how do you feel working in this position? Do you like it? Do you see yourself doing this or something similar to it in the future?
  2. The company: does it have a good atmosphere? Do you feel like you could work at this office everyday? Are there opportunities to advance in your career? Do coworkers seem happy?
  3. The industry: does the type of job you’re doing feel like it’s a good type of work for you? How interested are you in the industry itself? Do you feel like you understand, or are beginning to understand, the type of job you’re doing now?

Hopefully most of the answers to those questions are positive ones. If not, no worries! Then you learned what you don’t want to do. Try identifying transferable skills you got from this internship that could apply elsewhere (for example, this summer I learned some HTML and CSS, which could help in the future).

2) Talk to people

Networking is your best friend. There are so many jobs and career paths that rely on who you know rather than what you can do. If you say you’re highly organized, a job interviewer would have to take it on faith. If someone else says it, someone the interviewer knows or has heard of, it becomes more credible.

My LinkedIn profile exploded this summer. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to network and keep track of everyone you’ve worked with thus far.

3) Work hard, but give yourself a little slack

I’m not saying slack off, but remember that you’re not a permanent, full-time employee. Your manager knows (or, at least I hope they know) that you’re learning. You’re going to make mistakes and be in situations where you might not know what’s going on, and that’s okay. Forgive yourself, figure out what steps you can take to correct things, and grow from these experiences.

4) Ask questions

I’ll admit, I felt kinda like a little kid with this. What’s that? What’s this do? Who’s that? Where are we going? When is that? Ask as many questions as you can! My internship lasted ten weeks, and in the first two or three I felt like most of what I did was try to figure out what was going on. But I wasn’t afraid to ask my managers, my teammates, or even other random coworkers for help. My work environment was very accepting of questions, hopefully yours is too.

5) Finish strong

I know how it can feel when you’re nearing the end of the internship. You may be a little tired, you might feel that you need to process things a bit. That is completely valid, but make sure you don’t lose energy in that last week. Try to wrap up projects if you can, try to reflect on all the awesome work you got done. Celebrate! You did it.

Hopefully your internship experience was a positive one. Hey, no matter if it was or wasn’t, it’s a great addition to the resume!

Categories: Career

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