4 Ways to Get the Most Value Out of Your Internship
Companies hire interns every year for a variety of reasons. Among them: It’s a cost-effective way to increase production and a great way to evaluate potential hires. Simply Hired took on several interns this year in a successful two-month long internship program.
Interns, being new to the working world, tend to need more guidance, particularly when it comes to attitude and etiquette. Many articles point out that, as an intern, you should be proactive, humble, helpful and more. We asked our Simply Hired summer interns to draw on their experience and share their thoughts about being an intern. We came up with five key takeaways.
Time is money
Most internships have an expiration date, whether it is six months or two. To make every minute count, go into your internship expecting to achieve concrete results, or ask for a concrete project. Being proactive is critical during an internship because the clock is ticking.
Gustav, an engineering intern said, “As long as you are there you want to get everything done ASAP and move onto the next project. If you don’t put time constraints then you will never get anything done. Especially because things take longer than you expect.”
Beryl, a design intern, added that, “Because time is limited, it’s hard to speed up the projects, so knowing there’s an expiration date motivates me to work more efficiently.”
Grades aren’t relevant anymore
In school your work is independent of others, and you work towards a grade. In the working world you become a part of a bigger picture. You work in a company, as part of a team, and your presence has an impact. Instead of being measured by grades you are evaluated by the quality of your work. To impress your manager you want to track and measure your impact.
As you wrap up your internship you should not only think about the goals your supervisor has set for you but also the tangible results of your work. For instance, Gustav points out that although his project has not been fully launched yet, he expects it to increase repeat website visitors and time on page.
When meeting with your manager for a conversation around your performance, you can discuss the impact of your work and ask for input. This habit is also beneficial for your resume as it showcases your achievements.
Your company wants you to succeed
Don’t be intimidated. Ask questions, branch of out of your comfort zone, and voice your ideas. You might be tempted to stick with the other interns, who you view as your peers, but this is a mistake. Instead, take the opportunity to understand the nuances of the professional working world and build relationships with older coworkers. You are there because the company wants you to be there and values your input. Seize this opportunity to meet and work with as many people as possible.
Recruiter Avni Shah said that, “We hire interns so that way we can give college grads real world experience and for the fresh perspective they bring.”
Mikhail, an engineering intern, said, “Don’t be intimidated. You are here to learn and everyone is there to help you learn. You should take advantage of that.”
Every internship has value
If there is one thing any intern should do, it’s this: learn about yourself. Did you enjoy your summer internship? And why? Is it because you work well in a certain environment? Did you find this industry interesting? Shreya, a business development intern, said that she chose an internship with Simply Hired because, “The project here seemed like something I had not done before. I didn’t want to repeat past internship experience. My main goal was to get more exposure to different types of work.”
If you aren’t interning for the money, the contacts or the opportunity to work on a cool project, then do it to better understand yourself–your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and how you envision your career. Finish your internship knowing that you have come to understand yourself a little better.
One final note for interns: always ask your manager for contact information and a reference. Leave on a positive note, as you never know who will be helpful in the future. The relationship shouldn’t end just because your internship did.
Read related articles: