Saturday, May 10, 2008

How to Get The Most Out of Your Internship Experience

By Linda Greene
Executive Director
Wise Services

You’ve researched your field, contacted possible placements, made calls, and landed the internship you wanted. So you’re all set? Not quite! To make the most of your internship, here are some tips to turn your weeks or months as an intern into a truly worthwhile learning experience.

1) Set goals for your internship. What do you hope to get out of your experience?
What do you hope to learn? Which skills would you like to develop? Where in the organization would you like to work? Which people in the placement are those you wish to work with? Who else can help you? By setting goals, you will give your internship experience some direction and a way by which to measure the experience at its conclusion.

2) Meet with your supervisor and make sure you communicate what you hope to gain from your internship experience. Listen to his or her suggestions regarding how you will be used as an intern, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you want if it’s not initially offered to you. You will, of course, be more successful in this discussion if you are respectful and well prepared (here is another way setting some goals will be of use!)

3) Keep a journal of your experiences. By documenting your daily work activities and keeping track of the people you meet, you’ll have the information you need to summarize your experience in your resume and a record of your internship for future reference. Reflections on the experience will help you remember more about it and make the journal fun to read in the future. Keep updating your goals and make lists of things you hope to do and accomplish as the internship progresses. How are you doing on meeting the goals you set for your learning and for skill development?


New Feature launches launches an interactive advice column for users!

As students ourselves, we understand the need for advice from professionals. After our internships last summer, we realized how many questions arise before, during and after an internship. What makes a good resume? How do I ask for a letter of recommendation? How do I make my internships “worth the coffee”?

Take Note: Expert Advice from Industry Professionals will feature articles from various contributors of different backgrounds and specialties, offering advice about internships. You will see posts by career counselors, HR personnel and company executives. Whether you are a sports intern, finance intern or just looking for an internship, Take Note will answer some of the questions you might be too afraid to ask and didn’t know to ask.

We encourage you to post comments and interact with our writers. Please feel free to ask more questions or even suggest topics. This column is for you, so let us know what advice you really need! For now just take note…

Enjoy the new feature and don't forget to rate your internship!

--Lauren and Stephanie