So, you have your first internship and it’s your first time in an office setting. There are a lot of unknowns and unknown-unknowns to navigate. Internships are very valuable learning and networking opportunities – this cheat sheet will help you get the most out of it.
Disclaimer for readers: All advice in this cheat sheet is based on our professional experience and current online resources. You are welcome to use it but keep your own personal context and needs in mind. There is no rulebook, only informed advice.
I’m stunned that so many interns are texting each other right now complaining as if the job owes them anything. Nobody owes you anything. Go out and grab your internship. Go out and make your connections worth it! The internship IS your opportunity. It’s what you do with the opportunity that matters. – Gary Vaynerchuk
- I know you are tired of hearing this word; I am too. However, your internship is your opportunity to tap into a network full of professionals in Marketing, Business Development, Human Resources, Information Technology, Computer Scientists, Engineers, Directors, Vice Presidents, C-level Executives and so forth. Every person you meet is a learning experience, but also a chance to find mentorship. Instead of reading ambiguous job descriptions and summaries, you can ask questions and access this professional’s knowledge about what you potentially want to go into!
- If you express interest in these roles with these professionals, they might ask you to participate in a working project they are on.
- You can shadow them and gain hands-on experience, rather than waiting for another internship to apply to. You can also figure out what you like or dislike.
- This professional is most likely a leader in this industry, and they could be able to connect you to other professionals at your college location! They really could lead you to your next internship.
- “It’s really not about what you are going to LEARN, it’s WHO you are going to meet!!!” – Gary Vaynerchuk
- “I’m stunned that so many interns are texting each other right now complaining as if the job owes them anything. Nobody owes you anything. Go out and grab your internship. Go out and make your connections worth it! The internship IS your opportunity. It’s what you do with the opportunity that matters.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
- As mentioned earlier, you can find mentorship at your internship. Your supervisor and other professionals you network with are willing to provide advice and help you succeed in your professional journey, so utilize them!
- Schedule 1:1 meetings with people you want to get to know. These people will also ask questions about yourself, so be prepared in articulating your goals, aspirations, next internship/career/leadership move and etc.
- These mentors can provide a fresh set of eyes on your resume and/or cover letter. They can also provide letter of recommendations.
- Mentors could also introduce you to individuals who work at the company you want to work at too!
- REFERRALS GO A LONG WAY!
3. MAINTAIN THE RELATIONSHIPS YOU MAKE AT YOUR INTERNSHIP!
4. “4 things to do on the first day of your internship if you want to get hired” – Rajaa Elidrissi
- Be punctual, and arrive earlier!
- Prepare to answer some basic questions such as: What are you majoring in? And what do you want to do?
- “Prepare a few words to say about yourself in case you come across someone that could help you get your dream job.” – Rajaa Elidrissi
- Do your best to remember everyone’s name (and add them on LinkedIn in case you forget their name).
- Get up to speed fast because you are there to learn but also to support your team. It might be frustrating for your manager if you are repeating your mistakes.
5. Share your voice and pitch your ideas if you have them!
- You bring a fresh perspective to the team, so share them. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion (in a respectful and/or polite manner).
- You are young and full of energy, so share that with people; you mix things up for the company in a positive way. People will appreciate that!
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or help
- People understand that you are learning or have little to no experience, and they are willing to help. You need to ask when you need help!