Making the Most of Your Internship
For those of you not graduating next month, this summer will likely be spent interning. This week, we’re looking at how to make your internship successful. Whether or not it’s your first intern position, approaching the opportunity strategically will maximize what you take from the experience.
Conduct preliminary research
You likely researched the company before interviewing, but there’s no reason to stop now that you’ve secured an internship. Continue reading up on the organization’s mission and vision, and look for relevant news articles, whether from outside publications or the company’s own communications team (which are often shared via social media accounts). Starting with a depth of prior knowledge will reflect your genuine interest in the role and organization, as well as help you acclimate more quickly than fellow interns.
Internships provide students with a unique opportunity to build their professional network — you’re out of the classroom, interacting with a brand new set of people on a daily basis. Focus on building as many connections as possible. Attend company-sponsored intern events, think about organizing your own, ask your supervisor if they have time for lunch, and make plans for outside of work. Assuming your internship resembles what you’d like to do long-term (and, really, even if it doesn’t), every relationship you cultivate — both with peers and superiors — represents a potential job lead in the future.
Track your learning
Within your first week, your supervisor will likely ask you to sit down with them and set out some goals for the internship. After doing so, it’s important to keep track of your accomplishments and the things you learn. This sort of documentation will not only demonstrate to your supervisor the work you’ve put in, it will also help you reflect and then refocus your efforts as necessary to achieve those predetermined goals.
Maintaining of record of your learning will also help with resumes. Boiling the internship experience down to a few bullet points is difficult no matter what, but is especially so if you can’t remember what you did. Documentation ensures that won’t happen. Additionally, there’s some information you’ll only have access to as a company employee — for example, data on how many views the webpage you developed you received, or the number of artifacts and images you cataloged.*
*Make sure whatever you list on your resume/LinkedIn/portfolio doesn’t violate a non-disclosure agreement if you had to sign one.
Do your job well
Obvious, but unparalleled in importance. All the relationships you develop and learning you do will be for naught if at the end of the internship you don’t have people who can vouch for the quality of your work. Take ownership of your work and approach each task with the assumption that your performance could have lasting effects on your professional reputation.
Also consider volunteering for additional projects. Whether it’s a small administrative task or something more substantive, doing so will both demonstrate your work ethic and potentially introduce you to employees with whom you wouldn’t normally interact. Don’t overburden yourself, though — nothing gained from doing extra work if it isn’t up to your normal standards.
For more on this topic, be sure to check out Alycia’s workshop next week. Information listed below.
(Please RSVP via iCareers for any iSchool event you plan to attend, unless otherwise noted.)
5/9: Making the Most of Your Internship; 12:30 – 1:20pm, BLD 070
Many students will spend this summer interning, exploring an industry of interest and learning new professional skills. Whether you’re working your first, second, or third internship, there are a few things you can do to maximize the educational experience and set yourself apart.
UW Career & Internship Center
5/4: U.S. Job Search for International Students; 3:30 – 4:00pm, MGH 134
5/5: Getting Started: Interviews; 3:30 – 4:00pm, MGH 134
5/8: Exploring: International Careers; 3:30 – 4:00pm, MGH 134
5/10: Talking about Your Strengths Lab for International Students; 3:30 – 4:20pm, MGH 134
5/11: Working for Social Justice: UW Alumni Discuss Their Careers in the Labor Movement; 4:00 – 6:00pm, HUB 145
Top job/internship opportunities:
- Research & Learning Services Specialist, UW Libraries; iCareers ID 6122
- Data Science Internship (Undergrad), data2insight; iCareers ID 6118
- Program Manager, DatStat, Inc.; iCareers ID 6117
- AWS Linux Cloud Support Engineer, Amazon Web Services; iCareers ID 6114
- IoT Bot Developer and Technical Documentation, People Power; HuskyJobs ID 114620
- Junior Associate Information Analyst, The Next Phase, Inc./MedIntellibase; HuskyJobs ID 114650
- Reference Coordinator, Rocky Vista University, Southern Utah Campus; iCareers ID 6124
- Journalism and Government Information Librarian, Columbia University; iCareers ID 6121