Making the Most of Your Internship

As the importance of having multiple internships during your college experience grows, so does the pressure to find your perfect fit. Odds are that you’ll have multiple internships, some certainly more enjoyable than others. Regardless of whether you’ve found the perfect position, or if you’re stuck in a resumé-building nightmare, it’s crucial to make the most out of every experience. Here are five easy things you can do that will make your unpaid internship worth the work.

  1. 1. Ask Questions

    Ask questions about anything and everything, and to anybody that will listen. You’ve already been hired as an intern, so that means somebody in the company has seen promise in you. The best way to learn from this experience is to ask the people around you any questions you could possibly have. They know the struggle of finding a job, and odds are they were in your exact position at one point in their life. Most everyone in the office is going to be rooting for you, so don’t be afraid to utilize this opportunity. Plus, asking people questions about themselves is the best way to accomplish the second task.

  2. 2. Build Relationships

    It’s a small world, after all. This is an important one, especially if you’re in the Public Relations, Advertising, or Marketing industry. The odds of you running into an old coworker or someone you’ve interacted with at a previous job are high, so make sure their memories of you are good ones. Building positive connections early on as an intern sets you up with a strong network when it’s time to find a full-time job.

  3. 3. Socialize, Practice Your Small Talk

    If they remember you taking the time to say hello every morning, they’ll remember you when they have a project to assign. This is actually something that helped me greatly during my second internship experience. I would make sure to interact with anybody that I could, whether it be in the kitchen while we waited for the coffee to brew, or in the elevator on our way to and from work. Simple actions can lead to big success, and saying hello every morning won’t hurt anyone.

  4. 4. Use Your Time Wisely

    Interns typically have a lot of down time. It’s just part of the job, but what will set you apart from the other interns is what you choose to do with this time. Yes, you could sit on your phone and scroll through Instagram for 40 minutes, or you could spend that time putting together a pitch to give to your account director. Or, you could be doing relevant research on your field that you can discuss with the higher-ups. Time is money as they say, and what better way to use that time if not for progressing your career?

  5. 5. Don't Wait for Them to Come to You, Go to Them

    *IMPORTANT!* Sometimes the other people in the office have no idea what to do with you, to put it frankly. Just like how you have no idea what to do there. I can almost guarantee you that if you go up to anyone in your office and ask them if they need help, you’ll end up with your hands full of work. Asking for more work to do also shows immense initiative on your part, which your supervisor is sure to remember.

What you take away from your internship experience is really up to you, and how much you put into it. Doing little things like those I’ve listed above will help you succeed in creating the best experience possible for yourself and the company you intern for.