Being an intern is a trial run for the field you think you want to work in. In 90 days or so your trial is up. But then what? Did you actually learn something that pertains to your intended major? Is it something you see yourself doing for years to come?
In college, take advantage of internship opportunities. Trust me. You can never start too early in your career to gain experience, and there is no such thing as too much internship experience. From sophomore year in college, I started interning at different companies. As a college student, I wanted to know what my strengths and weaknesses were and what I actually wanted to do with my life after I earned my degree. As a marketing major, my field was broad, so interning was such a great hands-on experience. Interning with different companies in different marketing roles helped me narrow down what I actually enjoyed doing.
Here are some tips I have learned throughout my experiences.
Step out of your comfort zone.
An internship is your opportunity to try new things and surprise yourself. Trying out new opportunities helped me challenge myself. Even if I had no clue on how to do a certain project, I would still take it on. It was the perfect time for me to learn and grow. Even if by the end of it I disliked a certain task, I would still feel accomplished.
Always ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice. People love to give advice. Whether it is advice about your field, feedback on performance, or even career moves, they are usually more than happy to assist. Asking questions is a great icebreaker for your coworkers to know more about you, and you never know what you may learn over a cup of coffee and a conversation.
Get involved within the company.
Understand the company you are interning for; go beyond what the website says and really dive into it. Company culture is something important to pay attention to. How does the company you are interning for treat its employees? Also, interning is a great networking opportunity—while you're there, get to know all about the different departments and what they do. And always offer to lend a helping hand on some of their projects if ever needed.
Shine through your work.
Go above and beyond in your work. Don’t be a slacker. Make yourself memorable for the company—you never know when opportunities may rise for the future. Your work ethic is very important. It’s the little things you do that make you stand apart from the rest. Take initiative and responsibility and complete tasks accurately and in a timely manner. If there is no set deadline, make your own, hold yourself accountable, and don't procrastinate. This is not college where you can leave things for the very last minute.
Send a "thank you" card at the end of the internship.
Handwritten notes/cards are one thing that will never go out of style—they'll always put a smile on someone's face. When writing your card mention what you learned from the internship. Thank your main contact for giving you an opportunity to gain experience and learn. Go that extra mile and give back some appreciation.
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