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An internship is…
A) An easy three hours of credit.
B) Free slave labor.
C) Something to put on my resume.
D) None of the above.
You might have guessed ‘C’. The real answer is ‘D’. It’s true – an internship is something to put on your resume. But if that’s all it is, then you’re wasting your and your employer’s time. Take it from someone who has been there, done that, and got the ‘A’.
And looking back, I could have made it so much more than bumming around the office, waiting to spit out another press release (though, let’s be serious, by the end of the semester, I could write a beast of a press release…).
But that’s not the point.
The point is...an internship is what you make of it. Here are a few tips I picked up along the way:
· Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions or voice concerns. It shows you care and you’re thinking about your work.
· Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask! An internship is supposed to be a learning experience.
· Use it as a time to network – if you get a chance to attend an event, don’t just sit there like a bump on a log. Talk to practitioners, find out what they do and learn from their valuable advice. Take your own business cards and be sure to get one from them, as well.
· Keep ahead on the latest trends. With social media, it’s one day you’re in and the next day you’re out (2 points to the first person who can tell me where that quote came from). If there’s something your organization isn’t doing, let them know.
· Stay late if you need to. It shows you’re involved in the organization and a dedicated individual. And if there are other interns, it’ll set you apart.
· Look the part – dress like a professional, not a college student. People will take you more seriously and you’ll feel more confident.
· Ask for constructive criticism and feedback. Yes, it can hurt But realize it’s nothing personal – and it’s benefitting you in the long run.
Now it’s your turn: what do you add to the list?
By Chelsea Wilde