Nikki Vergakes, Vice President of Chapter Development
Internships, specifically summer ones, can be described as fresh fruits, like oranges. They are plump, and full of opportunity (juice). The harder you squeeze, the more opportunity (juice) you get out of it. Academic year internships are the same way, however the fruit metaphor is better for the summer. What would a school year internship be seen as? Maybe a second bottle of Red Bull, or a term paper. Both are necessary for you to graduate, and are worth all the hard work in the end.
So, how does one squeeze hard enough to get all of the opportunity juice out of an internship? After having some internship experience in the State House this summer, I’ve comprised a list from my own experience, and took some from a very helpful article in TIME.
The TIME article was written by a former Google intern who leveraged his internship experience and turned it into a full-time career. The author also surveyed executives at top companies such as Microsoft and Amazon to see what they look for in a good intern. Whether you want to continue your experience with the company you’ve interned for after you graduate, or you’re just doing an exploratory internship, these tips will help you get a five star review!
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Asking questions can be a daunting task, I know, but it is better to have asked and have done something right than not have asked and to have done it wrong. I even get nervous asking my boss at my retail job questions sometimes. However, asking questions shows your supervisor that you are engaging in your work, and that you care about the quality.
2. Weekly Recap Emails
The author of the TIME article said that he sent his manager at Google weekly recap emails. He listed what he did, what he learned and people he met. Not only can you look back at those and remember what you did and learned (updating your resume, anyone?), but it also shows initiative and engagement to your supervisor.
3. Read Up
Know what the happenings are in the industry you’re interning in. For me, it is reading State House News and politico. If you are interning at an agency, maybe sift through PR Daily, Mashable and Adweek. Think of how impressed your boss would be if you casually brought up the new twitter feature and how it could drive ROI over morning coffee.
4. Always Ask For Feedback
Do not be afraid of constructive criticism. This is the whole point of your internship. You cannot grow your skills if you do not know what to work on!
5. Learn From Your Superiors
Yes, part of an internship is learning through experience, and another is learning through others’ experiences. Do not be shy to ask your superhero boss how she planned her wedding, a 5K for her sorority and killed it at work all in two months.
6. Be There Or Be Square
The most common negative feedback on intern reviews turned out to be being late. Us millennials see our designer espressos in the morning to be worth waiting in the long line for, however, it is not worth being late. Set your alarm five minutes earlier.
7. “Is There Anything Else I Can Do?”
This is the most simple, yet helpful sentence. I hear myself saying this and variations of this all the time. Prove yourself to be an indispensable intern. Do not be the intern that just cannot wait to go home. Right before you leave, ask to see if there is anything else you can do.
8. Mix Work And Pleasure
Get to know and socialize with your coworkers and interns. It is a lot more fun working alongside your friends than alongside strangers.