By: Marly King; Digital Account Service Intern
It’s no secret that an internship can be a huge step forward for your education and your career. If you have the option to intern, take it. There are summer and semester experiences that will give you great opportunities to further your knowledge in your chosen field of work. After you make it through the interview process and accept the position, you are left with one big question: What do I do now? Well, it’s time to make the most your internship. Sure, it looks good on a resume, but what’s important is not just the name. It’s the experience and skills you gain.
So how do you make sure you are utilizing every part of your internship to learn, grow and prepare yourself for the future? Follow these three simple steps:
1. Develop Your Network
During your internship, build connections with those who work in your company. I have enjoyed getting to know many different executives and employees through my current internship by requesting to sit down with them for a few minutes to hear their stories. I learned the career path of people in positions that I hope to be in one day, and I have received insight on what it takes to get there. Developing your network is beneficial for your future career opportunities, so take advantage of it while you can.
2. Be Coachable
One important lesson to learn while serving as an intern is to be coachable. Being coachable is about more than being able to take instructions. It means seeking solutions to problems without being asked and handling criticism, among other things. You should be open to listening to what your boss/manager has to say and listening for correction on how to improve. Look for solutions to problems instead of focusing on the problem. Remember that criticism is only going to strengthen your skills. The job of those superior to you is to help you realize your potential.
3. Learn Outside the Lines
An internship lets you practice the things you have been learning in the classroom. You will learn more about the real world while also expanding your knowledge of other professions. You can learn what jobs in your field are really like day to day, which is something you won’t learn while in the classroom. Take time to evaluate different positions and opportunities that might be available to you in the future. Internships are the best time to figure these things out.
Ultimately, an internship is an amazing opportunity. You can learn new skills and figure out what kind of job you’ll really want after college. There are several tools out there, such as LinkedIn and Internships.com, that make it easy to find the perfect internship for you. With the experiences and lessons learned during an internship, you can start building the career path that you aspire to have.