5 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Summer Internship

internship3.jpgThis summer, thousands of students around the world will be spending their summer break working at an internship. These experiences sometimes get a bad rap for offering little more than tasks that no one else wants to do in an office. In reality, internships can be as rewarding and exciting as you want them to be. Since a number of schools are requiring internships as a prerequisite for graduation, it’s in your best interest to get as much from this professional experience as possible. With that in mind, here are some tips for making the most of your summer internship.

Understand your role.

Interns usually have a pretty defined role within an organization. Clearly understanding this early on can help you in the long-term. Even if your primary responsibility is making copies or taking notes, do it with enthusiasm. Excelling at your assigned work will generally increase the trust your supervisors have in you, increasing the likelihood you’ll be able to work on more hands on or exciting tasks down the line.

Volunteer for tasks.

Stepping up to volunteer for random tasks or assignments is almost always a good idea. Not only will it increase the trust your supervisor has in your, it will add to your experience and give you additional insight into your organization and possibly even the job field. Don’t hesitate to go the extra mile, as long as it doesn’t conflict with getting your regularly assigned work done first.

Ask questions.

Not everything you’ll experience or see will automatically make sense. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Remember, an internship is about gaining experience and knowledge. There are a couple benefits to this. First, it’ll expose you to facets of the industry you may not already be familiar with. Second, your organization may value the insight you bring. There is a caveat, though. If you’re raising questions, do it tactfully. They won’t likely place much value on your insight if you approach it in a condescending or negative tone.

Take your role seriously.

Chances are you won’t make enough money at your internship to retire, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it seriously. Keeping focused on your tasks and completing them on time will go a long way. Related to that, own your work. You might get some slack for being an intern, so if you make a mistake, own it and learn from it. Conversely, take extra pride when your good work is recognized. Taking your internship seriously also means dressing appropriately; never be the most casual one in your office.

Get feedback.

Throughout your internship, you should be getting feedback on your performance from your supervisor. If you aren’t, request it. Remember, internships are supposed to be a mutually beneficial partnership. You’re contributing valuable work to your employer in exchange for learning the trade. At the end, ask your supervisor for a sit down meeting to go through your internship. This final tip will help ensure the benefits of your intern experience will carry forth into the future.

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