This Employer Blog was written by Charity Scott who landed her internship through Internqueen.com and then made it a full time job as an editor at Demand Media. Read how to turn any internship into an experience!
As a super-intern turned editor and intern manager, I know firsthand how much of a crapshoot internships can be. I squeezed five internships into three-and-a-half years of college, and have managed several interns over the past couple of years. Believe me when I say I’ve done and seen it all.
Walked six Manhattan blocks (in heels!) in the sweltering July heat to mail a stack of magazines? Check. Interviewed hostile high school basketball coaches under impossibly tight deadlines? Check. Spent endless hours translating vague feedback delivered stream of consciousness-style from my “eccentric” editor? Check. I’ve had internships full of lots of grunt work and little guidance, but I’ve also had some awesome experiences where I learned a ton and beefed up my resume. One thing that I quickly learned was that the success or failure of any internship was largely reliant on my own persistence.
Getting an internship is an elating experience, but a couple of weeks full of nothing but coffee runs and making copies will discourage even the most resilient of interns. Nevertheless, you can turn any internship into a fruitful experience if you’re willing to work for it.
You need to focus your internship by figuring out what you’re trying to learn and what you want to accomplish. Don’t leave it entirely up to your manager. Once you know what you’re trying to get out of your internship you can ask for work that helps you meet those goals. You may need to prove yourself as a competent worker first, but don’t be shy about asking for more work when your assigned tasks are completed. Interns who are highly-capable and eager to do extra work will quickly earn the respect of their managers. More respect, means more responsibility, which means more cool stuff in your portfolio when your internship ends. Don’t be afraid to volunteer for assignments that will build knowledge and experience (even if they aren’t very glamorous or involve longer hours). Talk to employees outside of your immediate supervisor and other interns. You never know who may provide you with a great opportunity simply because they know and like you. Most importantly, always be thorough and hit your deadlines. At the very least, you want to secure positive recommendations from these people. If you stay in touch after your internship ends, the boost to your budding professional network will make your internship a huge benefit to your professional development long after it ends.
Editor (and former intern) at Demand Media