Recruiters, take note. If you want to know how to attract the best and brightest interns, you need to speak to someone on the front lines. Courtney Sprewer is currently interning on TMP’s Inbound Marketing team and has interned at several companies in the past. Below she provides insight on what interns really want out of an internship.
If you’re like me, new things can be a bit…anxiety inducing. And if you’re, like me, straight out of college, “a bit anxiety inducing” is a bit of an understatement. Trust me, I am no stranger to full-on freak-outs in the face of newness. But alas, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?
For me, this meant avoiding the fact that graduation was quickly approaching and I still wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do with my liberal arts degree. So many options! So many electives! It would have been majorly helpful if I had a candid and practical guide to internships that told me what to expect once I picked one. So that’s what this is. Everything I’ve learned from interning with takeaways you can bring to your next endeavor. At your internship you will:
1. Quickly learn which job duties you love, which ones you hate, and which ones you’re completely lost about.
But you will not have a say in the matter either way, so buckle up. The beauty of an internship is that you will get hands-on experience with a little bit of everything. Yes, it makes for a crazy workload at times, but all the new skills you’ll gain will be well worth it.
2. Make chump change, if you make anything at all.
Many internships offer college credit and invaluable experience in lieu of actual money. Don’t let this turn you away; you may have to grin and bear it for now, but you can use what you’ve learned to leverage a better salary at your next full-time job that you will be uber-qualified for thanks to your awesome internship and references.
3. Perfect your time management and communication skills.
Most internships you find will want you to work at least a few hours a day, be it in the office or remotely. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a gig where you aren’t being micro-managed and are allowed some independence as far as your workday goes. The key to being successful in these types of positions is to manage your time well and effectively communicate with your team so they know you’re on top of everything. If you do good work and can be trusted to work on your own, your boss will take notice (great for when talks of a full-time offer come into play).
4. Meet new people, network like you’ve never networked before, and, if you’re smart, find a mentor in your given field.
Once you overcome the challenge of learning everyone’s name, you’ll begin to integrate yourself into the corporate culture of your new gig. Make your presence known by finding like-minded people, sharing ideas and lending a helping hand where you can. Over time you will notice yourself beginning to grow professionally, and your coworkers will take notice too. I would also suggest picturing where you see yourself professionally in 5 years, finding the person at your company whose job duties most closely align with your goals, and chatting with them to gain some valuable wisdom. You might just learn something!
Take my advice on this one: if you can focus on these four takeaways in your next internship, you’ll get the most out of it and will be able to apply your newfound skills to any future positions you may land. And who knows, maybe your boss will be so impressed by your wisdom beyond your years that he will want to make you a permanent part of the team. Good luck and happy interning!