After doing six internships, I feel like somewhat of an internship pro. However, I definitely didn’t start out that way; in fact, I can remember a couple internships that I completely squandered because I thought you could simply come in at 9 AM, do what was asked of you, and leave at 5 PM. However unfortunate those losses are, I definitely learned some things along the way.
Always set goals for yourself.
Being an intern at Bravo, this is one of the first things that you do when you set foot in the office on your first day. However, even if your internship doesn’t do this, you should be doing it for yourself. Spend a couple of minutes it down and figure out what you really want to get out of the internship. Setting goals can help you get more out of the internship and more to put on your resume!
Personally, I had seen a lot on the social media side of things during my many internships, but I hasn’t seen much about what the design people did. So when I sat down to write my goals at the beginning of my internship here at Bravo, I made sure to vocalize the fact that I was curious about what our design team did. It’s because of that that I got to take a trip to Harrisburg to see the design team in action.
Seek feedback at every opportunity.
In my first couple of internships I felt that work would be like school; you would turn your assignments in and, when your boss finished looking at them, they would report back to you with feedback. Well, so far work hasn’t been like that at all. In fact, I found that oftentimes you won’t receive feedback about your work unless you go out of your way and ask for it.
So why would you do that? You might think that you don’t want to hear critiques of your work, but it’s really one of the best things for you. Instead of taking criticism personally, use it to figure out where you can improve. If you just go along thinking everything you’ve done is great, there’s no way you can possibly get better!
Learn from Your Co-Workers
Even though you may not be working directly with your coworkers, they still have a lot to offer. When you come in as an intern, you probably don’t know too much about the company, the industry, or about the work that you’re going to be doing. So instead of struggling with it alone, ask for help! Most places I’ve worked have been more than willing to help me out with anything that I needed. You’ll learn faster this way than you would through trial and error!
Even once you’ve gotten past the initial stages of needing help, there are still so many ways you can learn from your coworkers. Try running a project past some of your coworkers just to hear their thoughts on it, many times they’ll have some unique ideas that you can incorporate into your projects to look like a pro!
Always Work Hard
This seems like it would be something that doesn’t need to be said, but I’ve heard so many stories of interns who spend their days on Facebook or Netflix because they don’t have any work. It’s true that you won’t have work all the time as an intern – there will be days when things get slow – but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be working hard. If you find yourself with down time, try going over a project to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes, research about the company or industry you’re working for, or ask coworkers if they have anything they need help with.
Bottom line: If you’re spending your days watching Scandal then you’re wasting time you could have spent learning a new skill or making a great impression.
A new internship is going to include a lot of things that you’ve never seen before or that you don’t understand. If it’s not directly related to your job, it’s easy to just ignore it and go about your day. However, that’s not how you learn! Take the time to ask about things that interest you or things that you’re curious about. You’ll learn a ton and you could even find something that you really love doing!
Catharine Gaylord || Wayne Office