As we seem to be moving right along through spring, I can’t help but think about how soon summer will be here. That means it’s time for sunny days, hanging out by the pool, or maybe even filling your time with a great summer internship in your field of study, especially if you’re a junior or senior in college.
This time last year, I was in a position like you: finally nailing down my summer plans to prepare myself for a career in the field of PR. The hardest part is landing that coveted position, so if you’ve done that, congratulations! Now, it’s time to make the most of your experience.
Here are some tips that helped me take full advantage of my internship, plus some tips I wish I would’ve paid more attention to:
- Ask lots of questionsThis might seem like a no-brainer, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. This applies to anything you don’t understand or even just something you want to learn more about. While my coursework at school set me up well for an understanding of my intern position, there are some things you’ll have to learn and adapt to on the job, as every organization does things a little differently.
- Go out of your way to meet people in the officeMost offices tend to be friendly and will give you the opportunity to interact with different teams. But, if you’re at a particularly large company, it might be difficult to get to know everyone. If you can, try to introduce yourself to people you might not interact with each day, especially those whose positions might interest you. It can help you make connections and learn more about different areas of the business.
- Connect with members of the organization on LinkedIn while you’re thereThis is helpful for two reasons. First, it means you won’t forget to do it when your internship is over. Second, it will help make sure that members of the organization recognize you because your name and face will be fresh in their minds.
- Maintain a project tracking documentI kept a document of clients, projects and tasks I worked on while at my internship, and this helped jog my memory of some of my responsibilities and capabilities when it came time for my “real job” interviews post-grad. Believe it or not, it may be challenging to remember the specifics of a project you did several months prior.
- Keep copies of your best workIf the organization allows it, consider keeping copies of the great work you do. This way, you can begin to build a professional portfolio. Be sure to confirm that you can keep copies of your work, though, since some items might be confidential or considered property of the organization.
- Write a thank you note at the end of your internshipIn my opinion, a handwritten thank you note can go a long way. I think this is really an important part of leaving a good impression on the organization that offered you the ability to learn more about the industry and contribute to their work.
Speaking of summer internships, we’re on the lookout for our own summer intern! You can learn more about the application process and qualifications here.
As always, you can check out some of the other Commonwealth PR blogs here.