The weeks left until the start of another semester dwindled down to just three, and if you’re like me, you still have part of that time left at your summer internship. In that amount of time, you can tackle a big project or meet an Executive who offers to look over your work. I know I plan to take on as many assignments as possible until my last day.
With all the professional development opportunities awaiting you, it may seem hard to narrow it down to just a few. Look at these four ways to get the most out of your summer internship and see just how much you can achieve in three weeks!
- Ask Questions
The longer you intern for a company, the better you can understand which of your co-workers work in positions you hope to one day. Ask them to lunch, walk with them on the way into work in the morning, or grab a coffee date and ask them any question you have. Once you’re with them, ask as many questions as you can. Most of the time professionals are happy to help an intern learn more about their industry or must have skills. I found a recent graduate at my internship who worked in the department I liked the most. We grabbed lunch one day and I learned more about her day to day work activities than I would have as an intern in another department.
- Learn a new skill.
Every internship experience is different, so take the time to learn a new skill during your last few weeks there. If you focus on transferable skills, you can transfer what you learned to your next internship or even job. I developed my leadership skills by taking on the lead of a project. I received the chance to delegate tasks to my peers, problem solve, and effectively manage a team. All of those skills can be transferred to a future position, each with an example I can communicate in an interview. Expanding your skill set will help you continue to set yourself apart from other qualified candidates.
- Network with your peers.
If you work with other interns, it’s important to network with them; you could run into them again in the future. Take the time to talk to them during your lunch break or on the way out of the office at night. Employers notice you taking the time to build a relationship with your coworkers, showing you’re a team player. I’m lucky enough to work with 8 other interns, and I spend a lot of time getting to know them and their varied skills at work. These connections will be useful slow day with no projects, but will also allow me to meet some of the people I could be working with again when I graduate. It’s important to know the people working in your industry and to look to them for support or advice. You also get a better understanding for your competition when applying for jobs.
- Get as many samples for your portfolio as possible.
Your work portfolio showcases your skills to future employers and can be filled with samples from work or independent projects. Samples from projects you worked on at your internship, however, really stand out. Use these next few weeks to draft as many samples for your portfolio as possible. My portfolio is filled with press releases, articles, and event materials, some of which were used by my Supervisor for actual projects. In these upcoming days I’ll be looking for any chance to write a press release, article, or to be included on a project where I can produce tangible work. Taking on a chance to work, no matter how small, shows your initiative to learn as well.
By: Betsey Coulbourn
Betsey is a senior Political Science major with a triple minor in journalism, political communication, and Islamic studies. She currently serves as Historian for PRSSA-UD for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to being on the PRSSA-UD executive board, she is a Field Organizer with the Delaware Democratic Party and a member of Active Minds. Connect with her on Twitter @betC__.
– Class year: Sophomore
– PRSSA E-Board Position: Assistant Program Director
– Nickname: I go by Kat for short.
– Favorite meal/foods: My favorite meal is brunch. For Brunch I’d like a nice big (emphasis on big) cup of coffee, with a Belgian waffle with whip cream, fruit and bacon. With a side of a feta cheese and spinach omlette and home fries ( but only from a dinner back home in Brooklyn). Then for the lunch part of brunch I’d like a grilled cheese and buffalo wings ( from a local bar in Brooklyn).
– If you could meet anyone: If I could meet anyone it would be J.D Salinger.
– Dream career: My dream career would be PR for the President.
– Sibling(s): I have two younger siblings, Evie’s 15 and Nicoletta’s 9.
– Pet(s): No pets, my parents are “allergic.”
– If you could travel anywhere: Bora Bora!
– Favorite place to study on campus: My favorite place to study is the Trabant Chapel.
– Guilty pleasure: My guilty pleasure is anything that airs on the TLC channel.
– Weird fact: I’m not telling you my weird habits #embarrassing.
– Name: Allison Lane
Internships are something every college student thinks about as a way for them to get a job right after college. Getting hands on experience in an industry is deemed as one of the best ways to showcase why you’re the best. Even if you’re working for free.
That’s the way I saw internships when I was a freshman. I wanted to make my mark and have as many people know me as possible so I would have a better chance at becoming a full time employee after graduation. But I also wanted to stick my hands in as many cookie jars as humanly possible so I could learn from as many different supervisors as possible in as many different industries as possible.
My plan worked until last summer. Prior to 2012 I had 4 internships ranging from a blogging internship at a fashion/beauty online magazine to a marketing internship for Newark Beth Israel Hospital to a communications/marketing internship for an online sports memorabilia store. Everything changed when I got my internship at The Madison Square Garden Company. Telling people I was a summer associate at MSG, albeit in sales, was a dream come true and I was going to hold onto that for as long as possible…which is why I decided to come back.
Even though MSG was, and still is, my dream company to work for, I had a hard decision to make because I did want to spend my final summer as an undergraduate intern doing something different. And a lot of people recommend not interning at the same company twice but here’s why I think that’s wrong.
- Don’t Settle
This is something my boss told me from day 1 and it’s something I’m never going to forget. As soon as I put my stuff down at my desk this summer I sat down with my boss to discuss my new goals for this summer. I loved working at MSG last year and learned a lot about sales and marketing but I wanted more. If you choose to intern at the same place more than once make that clear. Learn as much as possible and don’t do the same tasks as the previous year. Do more.
- More Experience = More Responsibility
Another perk that comes with returning to a pervious internship is you know the lay of the land. My position requires a lot of data input and updating spreadsheets and pulling reports from different systems. Because I was here a year ago I only needed a quick refresher on how to do all of that. If I was just starting out it would have taken about a week, maybe more, to learn everything. This meant I was given bigger projects faster because I knew what I was doing.
- You Know The Players
In my opinion this is the most important part about returning to a company. Depending on how long you go between internships, people might have left or been fired but regardless some people will still be working with you that you already know. For me, 95% of the people I worked with last year were here this year. And the cherry on top was a lot of them remembered me. Knowing people is great but the most important thing, regardless of if you plan on returning or not, is making sure they know who you are. I walked in on day 1 and people were welcoming me back and saying how great it was to see me interning here again. This also relates to point #2 because some of the people from last year got promoted and they have asked me to help them with projects they’re working on because they know what I can accomplish.
A lot of people have asked me why I decided to intern at MSG again doing the same thing as last year. I respond with a smile and tell them it’s because I don’t plan on doing the same things as last year. Sure, there still are some day to day things that I find myself doing that I did a year ago but I’m now working with the Senior Vice President on a few big projects for the President of the company on top of that.
Even though there are a lot of benefits to having a variety of internships so you can have different experiences, whatever you do, make sure it feels right. MSG felt like home to me because I had a background working with the company, had new goals I wanted to accomplish my second time here and I knew who I was dealing with. So that’s why I came back.
-Written by: Nikki Kirschner
– Class year: Senior
– PRSSA E-Board Position: Public Relations Director
– Nicknames: Kerbear, Carols,
K-Dawg, Eliza, Ker, KB Toys, Betters
– Favorite meal/foods: Dinner’s my favorite meal! Favorite foods are grape leaves (a Lebanese dish), hummus, chicken and broccoli casserole, coffee (it’s a food group, I promise), and watermelon.
– If you could meet anyone: Johnny Depp, Tim Tebow, Troy Polamalu, and Michael Jackson.
– Dream career: My dream career is to go into sports PR (ideally for my favorite team of all time, the Pittsburgh Steelers) and/or become the next Erin Andrews.
– Sibling(s): I have three younger brothers: Jeremy (19–he goes to UD, too!), Zachary (16), and Joshua (10).
– Pet(s): Sadly, no pets currently, but I really want a white husky with blue eyes!
– If you could travel anywhere: Australia, Hawaii, Neverland, and Narnia.
– Favorite place to study on campus: Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and The ISE Lab.
– Guilty pleasure: The Bachelorette and caramel iced coffee.
– Weird habit: Most of the time, I purposely spell my name wrong at Starbucks because I’ve realized that’s a battle I’m never going to win. Also, before any stressful event (interview, exam, competition, etc), I listen to “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson on repeat. Don’t know when this habit started, but it calms my nerves every time!
As college students, we extensively prepare for our futures—raising our sails, gripping the wheel, pushing off the dock and venturing into the vast sea of our future. We don’t quite know what lies ahead, but we do have our sights set on one thing: finding our own treasure chest of joy, otherwise known as our dream job. We begin our search with internships and test out
the waters. But how do we find that one perfect match, our true passion, our calling? Well, we all embark on different journeys, but six key components can help all twenty-somethings set sail and strike gold.
- Explore your Interests/Passions
We’ve all heard the saying “work hard to play hard,” but what if you could do both simultaneously? Try interning with an organization of which you’re already apart (like your school, church, gym, part-time job, country club, favorite charity, food bank, community theatre, etc.) and see if it strikes your fancy. You might just fall in love with working behind-the-scenes and discover you were standing on your treasure all along.
- Try new things with an open heart and mind
Perhaps you yearn for something new, uncharted waters in which you may sink or swim—and why not with a short-term internship! You won’t have enough time to sink if you tried. 😉 Branch out by working in a completely unfamiliar environment and appease that adventurous appetite of yours. Maybe you’ll shift your sails in a new direction. Maybe you’ll return to your previous route. Regardless, you can look forward to attaining a wealth of self-knowledge and a priceless confidence boost.
- Monitor your energy and attitude at work
Find yourself whining and groaning as you get ready for work every morning? Bashing your forehead on the desk in boredom? Counting the hours ‘til you go home? Or do you smile through your lunch break, leave work excited for tomorrow, and incessantly relay stories to friends? Every day presents ups and downs, but when measured in the long term, these habits reveal a great deal about our happiness and mental wellbeing. Monitor yourself every couple of hours—discover trends in your emotions, likes/dislikes, thoughts and habits in a diary or Word Document. This way, you can define your nonnegotiable needs for your fulltime job.
- Set up informational interviews
Take a walk in someone else’s shoes—meet with professionals who work in your dream job/industry! Prepare questions and jot down notes as they give you an exclusive one-on-one. They can tell you all about their college experiences, job preparation, current job responsibilities, daily workload, work/life balance and more. Perhaps they already found the treasure you seek and could drape you in their pearls of wisdom.
- Look forward to the future
No two paths identically match, no one reaches his or her treasure on one defined route and no one knows what waves or tides may pull your search in a new direction. Instead of feeling fearful, embrace your courage and college diploma and embark on the adventure of a lifetime—the adventure of your lifetime. You may find your treasure or your treasure may find you. Either way, you’re in for a great ride and a tremendous prize. Happy hunting!
Written by: Laura Hepp
Laura Hepp is a rising junior mass communication major with minors in advertising and theatre performance studies. She proudly serves as Vice President of Professional Development for PRSSA-UD. Her other roles include Blue Hen Ambassador for UD’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and active volunteer at The Journey church. With a passion for musical theatre, she performs with Harrington Theatre Arts Company and multiple community theaters in the Tri-State and Lancaster County areas.