Some internships might only last a few weeks or months, but their impact can last for years.
Follow these steps to make the most of this period to launch success for years to come.
Build your brand with the right internship
Along with your major and your GPA, internships are one of the most important line items on your resume. Because it’s tied to your personal brand, applying for internships should be more thoughtful than simply working in a relative’s office filing papers for the summer. Put thought into what internships aligns with your future career goals, then make a list of businesses that can advance this brand. If a business where you want to intern isn’t hiring, reach out to them regardless. Your proactivity may be rewarded.
Designate a mentor or mentors
Many internships will have a mentor built into the role. If not, have a conversation with your manager at the beginning so you know who you can go to answer the mundane to the important questions. Having a designating mentor will benefit you for more than just locating the bathroom. Building a relationship with a mentor can help down the line when you need references, career insights and job leads.
Ask questions. Then ask more questions.
“I don’t know” are the three hardest words to say. It can be hard to admit when you need help. But an internship is a time when you’re not expected to know it all. Use this to your advantage by asking questions on any topic you may be unsure. Remember, this is a learning opportunity.
Do thankless tasks
It’s a cliche of internships that you sometimes do thankless tasks, because it’s true. The temptation may be to rush through these mundane assignments or feel that they are beneath you. But you’re building a reputation during this time not just for your talents, but with your presence and your character. You have a short time to make a lasting impressions, so do even the minor assignments to the best of your ability. You may find what seems like a series of thankless tasks are the ones that pay off in the long run.
Final thought: Even though internships are often entry-level learning experience, they can also offer responsibility, like learning how to project manage. An internship is more than a line on a resume – it also means growth and education. Use it to your advantage.