Making the Most of Your Internship
For those of you not graduating in June, 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, 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.
Maintain a 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 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 tasks 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 attend our Making the Most of Your Internship workshop. It will be on Thursday, May 24, 12:30 – 1:20pm in HUB 337. Leading the session will be Heather Harris, an MSIM alumna now working as a Solutions Architect & Data Scientist at Alaska Airlines. The session is not yet posted on iCareers or the iSchool events page but will be soon.
(Please RSVP via iCareers for any iSchool event you plan to attend, unless otherwise noted.)
5/8: Adulting 101; 12:30 – 1:20pm, MGH 258
This workshop will focus on topics related to graduation and entering the next phase of adulthood. Levi Sanchez of Millennial Wealth LLC will give a presentation on personal finances, followed by Janet Matta’s general strategies for managing your career and relationships.
5/9: BlackRock iLounge Hangout; 2:00 – 4:00pm, MGH 416
Two Informatics alumni now working at BlackRock will be in the iLounge to talk about the company’s summer 2019 internships and full-time positions.
5/10: CampusPoint iLounge Hangout; 2:00 – 4:00pm, MGH 416
CampusPoint is a third-party employer that works exclusively with college students and recent grads. Frequently staff in the tech industry for full-time, part-time, temp. jobs, and paid internships.
Career & Internship Center
4/26: Marketing and Communications Job & Internship Fair; 2:00 – 5:00pm, MGH Commons
4/30: LinkedIn Workshop; 12:30 – 1:00pm, MGH 134
5/1: Virtual Interviewing Workshop; 1:30 – 2:00pm, online
5/2: Job Search Workshop; 3:30 – 4:00pm, MGH 134
5/3: LinkedIn & Microsoft Pop-Up @ UW; 10:00am – 5:00pm, Red Square
Top job/internship opportunities
- System Administrator and Application Support Internship, Intellectual Ventures; HuskyJobs ID 125958
- Program Technician, Multnomah County Records Management and Archives; iCareers ID 7471
- Font-End Web Developer – Digital Wealth, BlackRock; iCareers ID 7465
- Software Developer/Advanced Technologist Early Career, Boeing; iCareers ID 7476
- Information Literacy and Instruction Librarian, Centralia College; iCareers ID 7468
- Science Librarian – Outreach, Pierce County Library System; iCareers ID 7474