7 Tips for Maximizing Your Internship

Bookmark and Share

Internships are more than a summer job or a resume booster; they’re great opportunities for growth and development in the area you wish to pursue after school. Take full advantage of everything they have to offer, and you’ll learn valuable skills to make you an employee everyone wants to hire.

Here are 7 things you can to do maximize your internship:

  1. Take it Seriously

Future employers will view your internship as a trial run of what they can expect from you. Give it everything you’ve got, just like you would when you really get hired. Whether the internship pays or not, having the experience will give you an edge over other candidates with the same degree.

  1. Keep a Record of Everything You Do

One of the best things I did during my internship was keep a record of my accomplishments and projects. Be sure to keep any published press releases, blog posts, or other samples of work to build a portfolio.

  1. Accept All Opportunities

Regardless of whether or not the task is related to your position, accept the opportunity graciously. Your manager will appreciate it, and you never know when you might find a niche that you hadn’t previously thought of pursuing by taking on something outside your normal duties.

  1. Ask Questions

You should always take the initiative to research first, but don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if necessary. Many employers would rather you ask for assistance than flounder and turn in something they can’t use. Asking questions also shows you’re invested and can be trusted with projects, which may lead to more opportunities.

  1. Get Feedback

Set up periodic meetings with your supervisor, if possible, to review your performance. Though constructive criticism can be tough to swallow, it’s necessary to grow and become an excellent employee.

If periodic meetings aren’t possible, be sure to get at least one at the end of your internship. These questions to ask your internship supervisor are a great start, but be sure to come up with more specific and relevant ones, too.

  1. Stay Connected to Build Your Network

You never know when you connections will help you down the road, so stay in touch as best as you can. You likely won’t be texting your manager every day, but there are plenty of other ways to stay in touch after your internship.

  • Connect on LinkedIn. You can network professionally, and coworkers can endorse you for skills you exhibited or learned during your internship or give you public recommendations!
  • Engage in other Social Networks. Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter are great ways to stay connected in a less formal manner. I frequently interact with old coworkers/managers online and have built a strong relationship with them, some of whom were able to give me glowing recommendations when it came time to finding a job.
  • It’s great to check in every once in a while to maintain your network, and email is a great option if you’re not comfortable interacting on social media. I’ve sent emails to old coworkers on several occasions. Sometimes I find a particularly great article they would like, others I just send a brief email when congratulations are in order. Just be sure to keep your emails short and genuine, as they will likely be read at work.
  1. Ask for a Reference and/or Letter of Recommendation

If you’ve done well there’s no reason you won’t get a letter of recommendation. Most supervisors will offer to be a reference, but it’s still good to stay connected. That way, you’ll have a stronger relationship and they’ll be able to tailor the recommendation to the specific job you’re applying for.

When it comes to advancing your education and pursuing your career, there’s nothing better than an internship. Getting hands on, practical experience in your field will give you a much better chance of finding a job. Better yet, if you work hard and follow these tips, you’ll become the ideal candidate everyone wants to hire. And hey, given that many companies hire their interns, you may not have to go looking at all!

sarahSarah Landrum graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a PR Specialist writing in her free time. Sarah is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers. You can find Sarah tweeting @SarahLandrum 

Bookmark and Share

What U.S. Presidents Have Taught us about PR and Reputation Management

Since before I can remember, I have been a fan of history. So it should come as no surprise that I learned my first lessons about public relations and reputation management from my U.S. history textbooks, and more specifically, from our former presidents. Even though some of these leaders lived long before the days of Twitter and iPhones, they still had recommendations that can be applied to brands and individuals in the 21st century. So for any of you who have ever questioned a history major as to why he or she entered into communications, here is a look at what the past taught me about my future career: Continue reading

Power to the People

Every agency has its own unique culture, but the general stereotype is that agency life is fast-paced and creative, and that a successful PR professional is one who can “sell” an idea. It takes a special environment to enable employees to promote their ideas both internally and to the editors and others being pitched. In my experience, the most successful agencies are those that foster a productive, creative agency environment in which individual employees feel passionate about their work, feel empowered to bring new strategies, take initiative, and share a sense of team spirit. This environment enables the fulfillment of client, agency and individual goals. The agency I am a part of, Vantage PR, is not the only agency that has developed a culture of inclusion, but it is my “home,” so I will use Vantage as an example of an agency that gives power to its people. Continue reading

A Study In Compassionate Communications

12924877474_6c16be2fec_bLet’s stop and consider the public relations industry for a moment. What is it that we do, really? Informing the public about any number of corporate strategies aimed at increasing the revenue for our agency or clients. Right? Maybe that’s a tad cynical, and I’m certainly not the folks at Gawker, but what good in the world does public relations do? If you’re unaware of the #Milaap4Hope effort going on today, allow me to enlighten you. Continue reading

Spin Doesn’t Suck- A PRBC Book Review

As an individual and PR professional, I enjoy learning something new every day.  Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to learn something new daily? When I was given the opportunity to review the book, “Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age,” (Que Publishing) by Arment Dietrich founder and CEO, Gini Dietrich, I was excited. Gini has great respect in the PR/marketing/social media world. My only concern was that the book would be a collection of blog posts from her blog of the same name. I should have known better. Continue reading

Avión Tequila “Health Claim” PR Snafu Part of Bigger Problem

In late March, Avión Tequila’s PR firm, Allison Brod PR, sent a media pitch claiming “consuming tequila has some serious health benefits.” The pitch offered cocktail recipes and sourced an American Chemical Society study that suggested agave could lower blood sugar, aid in weight loss and boost insulin production.

The pitch did not point out an important finding in the study: Continue reading

…..a chance to start the day off right.