This post was written by Lauren Berger, The Intern Queen, and author of All Work No Pay.
You aren't always going to love your internship. This could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you've realized the industry isn't for you. Maybe your employer has a bad attitude or rarely gives you things to do. At your internship you want to be growing and learning about a specific business and industry. Make it your job to make sure you stay on task and stay focused even when you have downtime. Here are a few ways to take advantage of down time at your internship:
1. Find out which industry publications and/or databases your company subscribes to. Several of the trade publications or database programs cost thousands of dollars to subscribe to per month. If you are at an entertainment internship, your company might have access to Variety Online or the print version. If you are at a PR company, your company may have access to Cision Media Source which provides media and news updates along with contact information for every writer under the sun. These tools are a great way to spend down time. Read as much as you can and absorb anything. If you come across something that you don't understand, make notes, and bring them up with your internship coordinator at the appropriate time.
2. Ask for Permission To Check-In With Other Executives. When your direct boss at a company doesn't have a big list of "to-dos" for the interns, ask if you can check-in with other executives in other departments. Go around and introduce yourself (first name and last name) and ask people if they need help with anything. Explain that you have some down time and you'd be happy to help. This is a great way to build relationships with multiple people within the company.
3. Check Out the Company In-House Library. Most companies have a few shelves of business books near the front office or inside of executive offices. Ask your internship coordinator or direct boss which books about the industry he or she recommends. Ask if you can borrow the books for a few weeks. When you have down time, read these books and make as many notes as you can.