All of your hard work has paid off! Long gone are the multiple revisions of your resume, cover letter, the weeks spent waiting to hear if you will be offered an interview, preparing for the interview, THE INTERVIEW itself and a few more weeks of waiting to hear those cherished words: “I’d like to offer you an internship with our organization!”
As the summer approaches, we thought we’d provide you with advice on making the most of your internship experience. What follows are best practices gleaned from our own adventures as interns, from former students, and employers
Best practice (BP) number 1 might make you “roll your eyes”, but don’t ever underestimate the obvious: Be on time! Not just the first day of your internship, but every day of your internship. If you are going to be late or if you are ill, be sure to communicate with your supervisor.
BP# 2: Ask for a clear set of objectives that you’ll need to achieve by the end of your internship. Request feedback on a regular basis. Regular means weekly or bi-weekly depending upon the schedule of your supervisor. Implement that feedback and if you don’t understand something, make sure to ask clarifying questions.
BP# 3: is related to #2: Journal! Capture weekly what you have learned and accomplished during the week. The former will help you measure your personal growth and the latter will help you build your accomplishment-based resume!
BP# 4: Work hard and when appropriate, take the initiative! Nothing turns off an employer more than a worker or intern who slacks off. The purpose of your internship is to help you learn as well as contribute. Every work day will have an ebb and flow—don’t wait to be told what to do! Seek an opportunity to take on a new task or project! Be a contributor.
BP# 5: Be quick to listen and slow to speak. When attending a meeting, ask your supervisor what your role should be. Are you there to observe? Expected to contribute? Listening carefully will enable you to contribute meaningfully.
BP# 6: Meet deadlines. If you’re going to miss a deadline, be proactive and renegotiate early, not when the project is due!
BP# 7: Network. Utilize your time to build your professional network. Ask a co-worker for a cup of coffee. Network vertically as well as horizontally in an organization. Be mindful that everyone has a journey that might provide insights on how to be a success in your future career.
BP# 8: Keep in touch. The summer will be over before you know it. You’ve built relationships with the folks you’ve worked with. Keep those relationships alive as you continue your education. Sometimes, it is as simple as a quick note or email to say hello. Be that person that makes the effort to keep in touch.
Written by EPICS Assistant Director Kimberley Cornwell, who serves as the main point of contact for students in the Master of Science in Health Communication program.