Sign of the Times: Successfully Juggling Multiple Internships

College grads hear all the time that internships are the key to success in the real world, and they are hearing right.

But what happens when internships become incredibly demanding? Especially when, like so many of us trying to gain an edge over our job-seeking competition, you hold several at one time?

Here are a few simple tips that will make your life as an ambitious intern much more productive and less stressful – enabling you to keep more balls in the air.

Constantly Communicate with Co-workers & Supervisors

Consistent, effective communication ensures that everyone is working together on the same page. When a supervisor assigns you a task, shoot them a quick email (“Done”) when you have finished the project or assignment. This short note will reassure them the task is complete, and your email brevity won’t clutter their inbox; it will help any confusion down the road. (I promise!)

Document Everything

Document everything is related to the popular mantra, “work smarter, not harder”. Documenting processes for projects and tasks ensures that you don’t complete tasks twice, and may even save you from spending precious hours intensively training other interns and employees when the time comes for you to move on (major points for us jugglers!). Depending on the type of process you’re recording, a simple word document or spreadsheet should be sufficient. Or if you love applications like I do, Project Pier and Clocking IT are both great free project management tools.

Prioritize

Having multiple jobs means reporting to multiple bosses. This can be difficult as, understandably, each of your supervisors believes their organization is the most important, and they are counting on you to deliver. It is up to you to decide which projects need your attention right away, and which can wait a few hours (or days.) Then, communicate with your supervisor regularly regarding when you will have tasks completed. If they give you a deadline, try your best to complete the task the day before they expect it. This will show that they can trust your sense of responsibility and ability to set and maintain your priorities.

Remember that holding multiple positions means you likely will work late nights and weekends; you will quickly know if your internships are worth it to you – and your career. If you are learning a ton and fulfilling your career passion, you won’t mind working at 9pm on a Friday night instead of spending time on the beach (the pier isn’t going anywhere!)

These lessons learned while becoming a master juggler have helped me immensely while I’ve held several simultaneous internship positions – and it is my pleasure to pass them along to you. Put them to good use, preferably before you reach for the unicycle and chain saws.

 

About the Author: Erica Roberts graduated from Oregon State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing. She is an avid reader and writer, and is extremely passionate about social media. Erica currently holds several part time marketing positions, including a social media internship with YouTern, and is searching for a full time career. Connect with Erica on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

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