Internship journal: make the most of your experience
This article was written by Ben Gottlieb. Ben is studying Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, and has been pre-accepted to the Richard Ivey School of Business for the 2012 academic year. This summer, Ben is an intern in the marketing department at Drake International.
Although a large part of an internship is based on how one can add value to an organization; another highly important aspect of the experience is the benefit that the intern receives. An internship truly should be advantageous to both parties involved.
Make the most of opportunities
Although a large part of an internship is based on how one can add value to an organization; another highly important aspect of the experience is the benefit that the intern receives. An internship truly should be advantageous to both parties involved. So, when participating in an internship program, one should always ask them self, “How can I make the most of this experience?” Reflecting back on my past five weeks at Drake, a number of notions come to mind.
One of the great things about completing an internship is the ability to meet a variety of people in an industry you are interested in. The possibility of a future job offer is the first thing that comes to mind, but even if this is not the case there are still many valuable relationships to be created. You never know where your colleagues and superiors will end up, and creating a strong network of individuals is a valuable resource to have down the road. One’s network can be used for references, industry advice, and future connections - not to mention having a strong network is essential to a job search. It has been said that 70 to 80 percent of hires are generated through networking.
Take advantage of resources
An internship is a unique opportunity for young adults in that it provides access to a number of resources. Having these resources at one’s disposal is helpful in developing a knowledge and skill base. For interns, the insight and experience of colleagues and superiors is invaluable. Exposure to others’ ideas and strategies is one of the most important things to take away from the experience. It is important to approach these relationships with an open mind, in order to benefit from others’ knowledge. Further, interns can find great value in the chance to use a company’s resources and budget. Having access to all of the physical and online tools that one may not have a chance to gain experience with on their own is a significant benefit. For example, while working at Drake, I have had the opportunity to run a Facebook advertising campaign – a fantastic learning experience and skill I can use in the future. This is not something I would have the budget for or the reasoning to attempt on my own.
Develop a history of well-executed tasks
When presenting the results of an internship in the future – be it through a resume, cover letter, or in person – a history of well-executed tasks is essential. It is important to be able to show a set of goals and related achievements. This summary should encompasses everything an intern has accomplished, and can help demonstrate that they were able to meet their objectives – which is a valuable trait. What’s more, completing tasks in their entirety generally indicates that a knowledge base has been developed, which can later be applied to future employment and educational environments.
Interns should see benefits
Many interns get caught up focusing on trying to please their employer, but it is important for the intern to also focus on getting the most out of their experience for their own benefit. What is good for one party is good for the other – and taking the initiative to succeed will demonstrate that. Why not have the best of both worlds?