Internships are no longer optional… in today’s entry-level job market, they are de facto necessity to get your resume even reviewed by a hiring manager.
No matter what you’ve done to this point, there’s a chance to improve, and there’s a chance to turn negative opinions into positive ones — and positive opinions into even more positive ones. And the right kind of internship makes all that happen.
So, listen up. Here are 8 internship “hacks” …basically, a cheat sheet to an awesome internship!
Define Your Expectations
Much like everything in life you have to know where you want to go before you can even start. Seeing as most of you are already halfway through your internship, you have a pretty good idea of how your company views interns and the work you’re being given.
If you’re unhappy with it, it’s time to define some expectations you have of yourself and of the work you expect to complete before your time is up. Many times in life you’ll only get one shot. Is this going to be one of those times?
Schedule Weekly Meetings
These shouldn’t be hour-long meetings. They should be quick catch-up meetings to recap with your manager/mentor on what you’ve been working on. Unless you haven’t been working on anything, in which case you better start or these meetings are going to be awfully embarrassing.
Ask for Feedback
As well as asking for feedback in the meetings with your manager/mentor, start asking for feedback from your co-interns and fellow employees. You can bet they’ll have some advice/tips for you, as well as any areas of concern they’ve had during your internship. Value their opinion, and take it seriously.
Schedule Informational Interviews
Holy crucial! This is single-handedly the best way to get your name in the back of other hiring managers/employees minds. What do you get out of it? You get to learn about other areas of the company, and how these other departments integrate with your own. What do they see? A proactive intern taking initiative to learn. It’s win-win. Don’t find a way to lose.
Very important to note: an informational interview is solely for the purpose of gaining information. DO NOT ask for a job.
Pitch Project Ideas
Hate your work? Start finding your own. A huge benefit rarely recognized is that of an outside opinion. Many times companies want you to come in and ask questions. That’s why they hired you. And for you to do some valuable work. Ask questions to identify areas of concern. If you think you have the ability to mitigate the problem, pitch the idea to your group. It pays to be forward-thinking.
Expand Your Network
Is your company having office outings? If they are, you should be going. This is a solid opportunity to get outside the confines of work and share a little bit more about who you are as a person. Build relationships with your fellow employees. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity otherwise.
Oh, your company doesn’t have anything planned? Schedule them yourself. For those of you who are 21, hello Happy Hours. If not, hello backyard cookouts. Just do something. It can even be coffee over your lunch break.
At each of my internships, this was required, so I expect that it’s required for similar majors/industries. But if it isn’t, you need to be doing it. Schedule a presentation for your group, and go share your work with them. Tell them all about the cool projects you completed. Remember to take initiative.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Undergrad Success!
About the Author: Community Director and Co-Founder of Undergrad Success, Samuel Hershberger is a budding serial entrepreneur and male fashionista. He splits his time between nerd activities like reading and writing about education, personal development, social dynamics and masculinity — and awesome activities like street photography, sipping coffee, and discovering new music. Samuel’s column runs each Thursday. For a daily kick in the butt and abundant sarcasm, follow him on Twitter.
Image courtesy of madmike’samerica.com… thank you!