YOU’VE GOT THE INTERNSHIP, NOW WHAT?
You have successfully written a professional resume, many cover/thank-you letters and interviewed with multiple employers. You have now secured an internship with an organization that meets your needs. What’s next? You must now make the most of your internship experience. Remember that the people with whom you work at your internship are future professional references for employment. You must make a good impression.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU BRING TO AN INTERNSHIP?
Even though you probably lack specific knowledge about an organization, you have many practical skills that could prove beneficial.
What skills do you have?
- Technical skills
- Clerical skills
- Facility with office equipment
- Communication skills
- Artistic skills
- Organizational skills
- Foreign language skills
- Positive attitude
- Good work ethic
- Ability and eagerness to learn
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE
An internship is an opportunity to test career interests without making a permanent commitment. Now is your chance to find out if you see yourself if the field you have chosen. Get involved in as many projects as your internship allows. Sit in on meetings, read everything you can and listen to your co-workers. You are learning so much from your experience! Reflect of what you experience and evaluate if it is right for you. The following should assist you in reflecting on your internship experiences
KEEP A JOURNAL OR A LOG BOOK
Reflecting on what tasks you are performing and what you are observing in the work environment is helpful in making the internship an educational experience. Furthermore, evaluating the experience in a written format will assist you in determining if you are choosing an appropriate career field for yourself. Many internships for credit require that a written paper be submitted about the internship experience. Keeping a daily or weekly journal will assist you in putting together this paper and accurately reflecting on all your experiences at the internship.
SAMPLE JOURNAL ENTRY
October 15, 2004
The train was experiencing some difficulties this morning, so I was late for work. Luckily, I remembered to call and no one seemed upset.
Working at a public relations firm certainly has its ups and downs. This morning I sat in on a planning meeting for a new business pitch. The firm is trying to get a new client in their consumer division. I was invited to be a part of the brainstorming session for new marketing strategies. This was a very interesting and fun experience. We played some ice-breaking games. The idea behind it seemed to be to get everyone to relax so they could be creative. I was really nervous. I had some good ideas but I was afraid to share them with the group. One of the account executives put me on the spot and asked me to share with the group. I told them some of my ideas and they are seriously considering one of them. If they decide to go with it, I may be able to attend the new business pitch with the clients. I am very excited!
Later today I was given a list of 100 reporters to call. This is definitely my least favorite part of the job. Many of the reporters act as though I am disrupting their day. I have noticed that many of the entry-level people in the office have the job of calling the reporters. The creative aspect of the job comes more into play as you gain years of experience. I am not sure if I will like spending the first few years of my career calling people and in effect “selling the stories.”
I plan to talk to one of the assistant account executives about what she likes and dislikes about her job. This may help me in determining if this is the right career for me.
KEEP A TASK ANALYSIS LOG
A task analysis log allows you to keep track of your experiences. Recording your work actions will help you determine what parts of the internship you like and what you dislike.
|7/18/00- Attended brainstorming session for new product campaign.
||I enjoyed attending this meeting. Find that this area of work is creative and fun. Noticed that brainstorming was a team effort.|
BUILD A PORTFOLIO
As you gain more and more experience you will hopefully leave your internship with some tangible proof that you were working hard. Maybe you wrote a short article in a newsletter or helped put together a cost proposal. These items should be used to showcase what you learned at your internship and what you are capable of performing on the job.
HOW ARE INTERNS EVALUATED?
|Asks a lot of questions
||Fails to ask relevant questions|
|Follows directions well
||Follows own agenda|
|Understands that the internship requires some gopher work
||Objects to routine and gopher work|
|Displays enthusiasm for tasks and the organization
||Lacks energy and enthusiasm|
|Actively looks for things to do
||Fails to display initiative|
|Follows office policies
||Fails to follow rules and regulations|
|Punctual and dependable
|Keeps supervisor informed on all projects
||Fails to keep supervisor informed|
|Socializes appropriately with staff
||Poor interpersonal skills|
FINAL TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR INTERNSHIP
- Understand your role as an intern
- Read and observe everything
- Communicate with your supervisor
- Ask for help when you need it
- Ask for more or different assignments.
OTHER METHODS OF GAINING EXPERIENCE
While The Office of Career Development and Internships at Queens College stresses the importance of internships in preparing for a profession there are other positive and successful methods of gaining experience.
Some additional methods of gaining experience include:
- Part-time/Full-time job opportunities
- Summer Jobs
- Research assistant positions with Professors
- Study Abroad
- Funded summer study
- Volunteer Opportunities
The Office of Career Development and Internships is available to meet with students to discuss any of the above options as well as to develop other strategies to gain experience.