Three Simple Tips to Help You During Your Internship
By Federico Gonzalez, Second-Year Career Advisor | may, 2013, Issue 1
Federico Gonzalez identifies three items to keep in mind during your internship.
Being prepared is half the battle. Just as you prepared for countless informational conversations, coffee chats, networking events and interviews by collecting as much information as possible about industries and firms, now you want to prepare to succeed during your internship by following the same strategy.
It is likely that you already know what your responsibilities will be, which team you will be working with and maybe even what projects you will be working on. However, being prepared for what your actual day-to-day will look like will help you get accustomed to your role significantly faster. Reach out to second years or recent alumni who interned at the same company and ask what their daily routine was like. Also, get in touch with people you will be working with to get their input and advice and if there are things you can do ahead of time to prepare.
Having prior knowledge of details such as the company culture, dress code, office hours and lunch habits among other things will allow you to feel more comfortable from the get-go, and enable you to focus your energy on what your internship is really about. Going into the internship not having to worry about getting accustomed to the routine will allow you to hit the ground running and help you make the most of your experience.
Setting tangible goals for yourself before starting your internship will enrich your experience and give you a sense of direction. During your internship you can revisit these goals and evaluate your progress. This will allow you to keep focused on what you originally set out to do and empower you to get the most out of the internship experience.
You can also modify your goals based on your experience thus far, reset them as you gain experience and knowledge, and possibly even establish new ones. Additionally, setting and tracking goals during the internship will allow you to seamlessly include this experience in the future when you are telling people about yourself and what you did this summer (the always popular "walk me through your resume" question).
The length of the internship is a tricky matter. Ten weeks tends to be too short a time to be able to make a significant impact on the company you are interning for. However, it is also a very long period of time not to know if what you're doing is right or wrong. Most companies tend to give feedback to their interns after the internship is over, which is useful for the future but doesn't allow you to actually improve your performance during the internship.
This is why you need to be proactive about asking for feedback early on within the first few weeks, as well as at the midpoint of your internship. Getting feedback early on will reinforce what you're doing right and can give you time to correct what you're doing wrong, and/or have time to seek out additional opportunities to maximize your internship experience. Additionally, asking for feedback will signal your commitment to learning and doing a good job during your short time at