How to Maximize an Interning Experience in Any Industry

This blog was written by Erin our campus ambassador from the College of William and Mary. If you go to William and Mary and want to blog for us, please leave a comment here.

Maybe your search for the perfect magazine internship to hone your journalism skills ended up landing you a job with the government. Or perhaps your plans to work with a performing arts organization turned into a summer at real estate office. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we end up with summer jobs or internships that aren’t exactly in line with our career plans. This doesn’t mean that these situations aren’t beneficial! With some perspective, it is possible to make the most of a summer that is completely different than what you planned.

Did your dream of a fashion internship turn into a job with an accounting firm? Use this opportunity to learn new skills. The business skills you learn at a summer internship could be invaluable later in life, whether you’re starting a business or managing a home. Or maybe you could utilize what you learn from your internship at a non-profit organization to help raise money for worthy causes down the road. Whatever your situation, do your best to learn anything and everything from your job, because you never know when it could be helpful.

Another benefit of working in a different field is the advantage of networking with professionals in a different area of expertise. Networking at any job or internship you have is crucial, even if you have no intention of going further in that particular profession. Remember: former bosses and supervisors can write recommendations as well as serve as mentors as you enter the professional world. And don’t forget, they might know someone influential in your field of interest!

A summer doing something different is a good opportunity to reflect on what you really want to do. Maybe you’ll discover that you have an undiscovered passion for what you’re doing. Or perhaps you’ll realize the importance of pursuing a career that you enjoy doing once you realize how much of your life will be devoted to your job. Either way, it is a great opportunity to gain new perspective on your life goals.

Whatever your internship or job situation this summer, take it as an opportunity to learn everything you can, network with professionals, and reflect on your career goals. Focus on the positives, and remember: it’s never too early to start searching for your next internship!