By Ryan J. Sweeney, UW Oshkosh journalism alumnus (@sweenr0272)
Let’s face it: in today’s competitive job market, landing a college internship–whether it’s paid or not–is essential to bolstering your résumé, garnering real-life work experience, and getting hired after graduation. On the surface internships sound like a necessity, but how do you ensure that you’re getting the most out of the opportunity? Below I’ve compiled several tips on how to take full advantage of what your internship has to offer.
Show a Strong Work Ethic
Forget any and all rumors regarding interns and coffee-making. If you want to really get something out of this experience, you’ll need to prove yourself. Make deadlines, ask questions, and deliver high-quality work. Prove to your boss and your coworkers that you really care about the quality of work that you’re dishing out; your efforts won’t go unnoticed.
Get to Know Your Colleagues
Although working hard at what you do is imperative, networking is also key. Acclimating into your new work environment can help create trust between team members, generate contacts for your future career goals, and build confidence in yourself and your role within the company. Your coworkers will also feel more confident in you, too, once they realize you’re more than just a productive machine.
Provide Your Unique Millennial Insight
As a millennial, you know new trends in technology better than any other generation. Whether you’re passionate about mobile tech, adept on social media channels, or simply knowledgeable on the latest trends, providing this unique insight can help you be seen as a resource within your company.
Take Advantage of New Opportunities
If there’s a new opportunity available for the taking, don’t hesitate. As an intern, you have to be willing to try new things, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. But don’t just wait for opportunities to arise. There’s no shame in asking if there’s any additional work you can do.
Overall, it’s important to take risks and give it your all. Your internship experience will only be as impactful on your future as you make it. If you’d rather just be the coffee-maker, then you’ll likely miss out on the truly rewarding experience that an internship can provide and maybe the possibility of that internship becoming a full-time job upon graduation.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in English with an emphasis in creative writing in spring 2015. I started working at E-Power Marketing in fall 2014 as an online marketing intern and became a full-time team member upon my graduation as an account specialist. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, or Tweet at me!