How to Get the Most Out of An Internship

Currently looking for a spring internship? Or are you a business looking for a student intern? The schedule and assigned duration of the internship will shape its direction and success. Both parties should discuss early on their respective expectations and goals--intern experiences should be eye-opening and enriching for all involved, and this is one way to ensure that happens!

Weekly Schedule

My schedule is two days a week from 9 to 2.  Being present for nearly a complete workday--instead of numerous small blocks of time--offers a better perspective on the company's day-to-day operations. Plus, five hours is enough time to complete most of the tasks I'm assigned.  For example, I often visit business owners at a local shopping center. Stores often don't open until 11 a.m.; therefore, if I only worked a few hours each morning, I would miss out on this direct interaction with clients.

Few college students are used to spending five hours--let alone the traditional eight-hour days dictated by a nine-to-five job--on one task. Some may realize the traditional desk job is not for them, and others will learn they thrive in the structured environment.

Internship Duration

Since my internship is from September to May, I'm able to become part of the team and continue to work on projects through their duration. Typically, seasonal internships last only a few months.  It might take an intern the majority of that time to feel less like a lowly intern and more like an integral part of the company. Since I am now comfortable with my co-workers, they've become important resources for industry questions, performance suggestions, and career advice.

A long-term position also provides ample time to earn the trust and respect of superiors, while proving your capabilities. Frequently, tasks assigned to interns are routine, such as writing a monthly newsletter or updating a social media account, but these projects do offer room for innovation and creativity. In addition to becoming an expert on these assignments, opportunities may arise to work on long-term projects. The intern can develop skills and take ownership of the work, while collecting tangible examples of progress, successes, and dedication.

My Perspective at Three Months

As a fourth-year college student preparing to enter the real world, the technical and professional experiences I've gained from my internship are invaluable.  Since I'm earning a liberal arts degree in history and foreign affairs, there isn't an expected, natural career path for me post-graduation.

Fortunately, my position has afforded me exploration into the fields of public relations and marketing, which proves that internships are critical for determining how to translate skills developed in the classroom to the professional world in a marketable way.

Category: Business
Tags: internships