It’s More Than a Job – 3 Ways to Maximize Internships
For the students out there…with summer slowly approaching, you know what time it is. It is time to revamp your resume, clean up your LinkedIn and Social sites, and start looking for that summer internship. The internship isn’t what it used to be (only fetching coffee and making copies all day), it’s where you will get that “real-world experience” that professors have been talking about and an opportunity to become part of a company or profession before the pressure of full-time employment becomes a necessity instead of a luxury.
Internships provide the opportunity to make professional connections, network, and potentially find an employer to hire you full-time after graduation. It is audition time, and after years in a classroom, you need to find out if you have what it takes to make it outside the walls of campus and to understand what types of work and environments are the best fit for you.
Not to mention, students who complete an internship are 13 percent more likely to secure full-time employment than their peers who did not intern according to the article, “What Job Statistics Say About the Value of College Internships” via the Huffington Post.
Additionally, for employers looking to hire interns, 51 percent of interns are seeking full-time employment and job retention is higher with those who interned versus than those who do not, according to a recent Forbes article, “Internship Wish List: The 12 Things Students Value Most”. More validation for the value of an internship program, this time as it relates to the employer.
I interned for two separate companies over a span of eight months and turned my summer internship into a full-time position with ANNUITAS after graduation. It was by far the best thing I could have ever done for myself professionally. The education gained from interning is irreplaceable and can help you advance quickly past your peers when it comes time for the full-time job hunt.
3 Tips to Get the Most from an Internship:
1.Be a Sponge:
I hate to break it to you, but the continuous learning and homework do not go away after graduation. In fact, you will be learning something new everyday when interning or working as a professional in your field. There is always a new case study, work process, or software application to learn and then master. As an intern, you can learn something from everyone on the team, no matter what their role.
There is a lot of information to absorb when interning, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes. Remember, the expert in something now was once a beginner like you. To build experience you have to start somewhere, and an internship is the best time and place to learn about any and all aspects of a business or profession.
2.Don’t Underestimate the Coffee Run:
This generation of interns are typically responsible for more than coffee runs and making copies. However, do expect to be asked to do the small tasks like grabbing coffee for the team on occasion and don’t underestimate the teach-ability of the task. Tasks like these give the team a little bit of insight into your personality and your capabilities and it has nothing to do with the coffee. A coffee run requires responsibility, patience, and a good attitude (despite the length of the line). Show that you are there to support your coworkers in anyway possible; whether that is grabbing coffee, ordering lunch, or making copies. At the end of the day, a lot of things happen in an office environment and how you respond to these seemingly small tasks can indicate how well you may fit, or not, into the organization and their culture.
3. Find a Mentor:
In your new role as intern you will most likely be paired with member of the team to help guide you and share knowledge about the requirements of the job. Take advantage of your time with this person! They can not only help you learn the skills needed for the job, but they probably have a few life lessons that they may be willing to share as well. Be proactive, schedule weekly meetings with this individual, invest in learning what they know and then some. Always show your gratitude for their time and be sure to not take it for granted. A mentor in your field can help guide you long past your internship, and your relationship with this person can be vital to your ongoing success.
If you are looking for an internship, remember why you are choosing to trade in your beach clothes for business casual this summer. It’s for the experience and knowledge about yourself and an opportunity to find a position or join an organization that you may not have access to otherwise. So make the most of it. This opportunity is your chance to dive into the corporate world with a safety net under you. Learn everything you can about the company, the skills needed to work there, and if the company is the right fit for you. Ideally, you’ll land yourself a full-time job after your internship, but if not, the experience is what matters and it is invaluable practice for what’s to come.