6.12.2014

Intern 101: What to Take Away From Your Internship

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The past few days I have talked a lot about workplace etiquette and versatile clothing for the summer intern. The Intern 101 series wouldn't be complete without a post regarding what you should take away from your internship.

The few weeks you spend as an intern are more than just volunteering your time for free. Even though the outcome of your time doesn't result in a paycheck, the hours you devote to your internship come with plenty of reward. You'll make numerous connections, new friends and mentors, learn valuable lessons that can be used for future work, gain experience in the field, learn if this is the right career path for you... the list goes on! 

The value you get for your time, depends greatly on what you set to get out of it. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go through your internship... 

Make Connections
You never know if someone you meet with lead to another connection that can land you a job. Internships and the real world are all about "who you know." So make sure you network, create a contact list and make real connections with people in your field.

Seek to Learn New Things
Always seek out learning something new. Just because your main task is answering the phones each day, it doesn't mean you can't assist with other projects or learn from different areas of the office.

Really Assess What You're Doing
Internships are the perfect time to figure out whether or not the field you hope to enter, is the right fit for you. I have seen countless friends intern at a company they hope to work for someday, and figure out over the course of their internship that they are no longer interested in that particular career path. Internships offer a great opportunity to get a feel for what you think you want to do. You will either learn quickly that you love it or prefer to look at something else.

Stay In Touch... But Not Too Much
Once your internship is over, it's okay to follow up with former employers or coworkers. However, following up weekly and asking about future job opportunities when you're only a junior in college, is not appropriate. Base your follow up time on how much school you have left.

Highlight What You Learned
Your resume and cover letter should detail what you learned during your internship. Employers like to see what tasks you completed while interning, as some of those points can benefit them to hire you.

Use Your Words
When it comes time to update your resume, choose your words carefully. For example, instead of saying...

"learned how to use the computer software"

say....

"Gained valuable knowledge in correspondence software programs"

Elaborate more and make the tasks that you completed sound more interesting and of greater importance. Employers will respond better to things like this. You can apply this trick to just about any bullet point or item on your resume. 

All of these are great points to remember during and after your internship. What you put into your weeks as an intern, determines what you'll get out of it. Instead of using your time away from school for a mini vacation, seek to gain as much experience and knowledge as you can. The point of internships is to make connections for future job opportunities, as well as learn if the field is the right fit for you. 

Hopefully this mini Intern 101 series has been beneficial to you. 
Is there anything else you'd love to see in the future? Email Kristyn and she'll be happy to help!

kristyn
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