A good internship can lead to a job, great references, and valuable experience.
A bad internship can turn out a waste of time and money for everyone involved.
So how do you ensure that you have the right kind of internship? A lot of it come down to the attitude and approach taken by the intern.
We’ve gathered a series of tips for interns from professionals at Business Insider and other companies.
'Everyone will tell you to network and be as proactive as possible, which is great advice. However, it is more important to gain a few very close relationships, rather than many surface-level ones. So, it's true to work as hard as you possibly can, but you have to be genuine about how you approach things.'
'I wish I paid attention to how much the people who actually worked there liked their jobs and the company, rather than how much I was liking my internship and the company.'
'Work harder than the full-time employees -- nights, weekends, whatever it takes if you're serious about getting hired.'
'Play intramural sports and do your networking that way. It's way better than networking at bars. That's how I got my second job, which led to all subsequent jobs.
'Networking with other interns will get you nowhere.'
'Network, network, network. You never know who you will meet and how it will affect your future.'
'Interns should focus on the one person who can be their mentor -- that individual can be a go-to person for career advice and, more importantly, a reference.
'This might seem obvious, but interns should also work their asses off. If they stay late to finish up an important project, their supervisor will remember that hard work the next time there's a job opening.
'Come up with ideas for their own projects! Sometimes it's hard to think of things for interns to do, so they get extra points for coming up with their own projects.'
'Don't just wait for suitable internships to become available or get advertised; be proactive and seek out the companies you'd like to work for. Contacting them directly and inquiring about internship opportunities will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates.
'Plus employers appreciate individuals who go after what they want. They may consider offering you an internship even if it's not something they usually practice as an organisation.'
'Leverage your mentors -- your seniors and supervisors are never too busy to answer a question over coffee.'
'Keep your head down is terrible advice. Find out who's doing interesting work, and ask or figure out how you can help. People aren't just going to show up and give you great projects and spend time walking you through them. Be proactive, curious, and useful.'
'Always be enthusiastic and excited about the work you're doing. There's nothing worse/scarier than someone who doesn't seem to care about the work they're doing for your company. Also, go to office happy hour!'
'I wish I'd known how powerful a Thank You note could be. I'm not kidding when I say two out of three jobs that I've had in New York since I moved here four years ago can be traced to two Thank You notes I sent coworkers after an internship. At the time, they were both junior employees with no real hiring power. But when I was ready to work full-time a couple years later, they'd been promoted and were in a good position to refer me. I didn't have to apply. They remembered me because of those notes.
'The trick? Don't just buy some $1 card from a drug store. Get something beautiful that they'll want to keep on their desk in plain sight. Every time they look at it, they'll remember that thoughtful intern they liked so much ---- and that's half the battle won already.'
'Always ask for more challenges -- if you don't ask, you don't get.'
-Sketcher has had internship experiences at BMW Berlin (school internship in marketing dept), Winkreative, London (Branding), Alexander McQueen, London (Press Intern) and Globeone GmbH, Cologne (Communications & Consulting Intern)
'So, internships are about learning something about your new career, but often your bosses will be too busy to really teach you. Make sure you keep reaching out to them and asking for their advice. Don't be afraid to mess up or ask too many questions -- they know you are just getting started and are supposed to be there to help you.'
--Jennifer Welsh, six time intern.
'Even when they don't give you a deadline, there is always a deadline.'
'Proofread everything! And use spellcheck, even if it's just on emails with your boss.'
'Be a leader while following directions with precision. Nobody wants to explain a process more than once, but if you have ideas how to improve such process, make it happen.'
'Don't be afraid to speak up! If you have a great idea or solution to a problem, it never hurts to voice your opinion. Part of the reason interns are such a great asset is because they add new voices to the team.
'Also, be crazy adaptable. It's best to have the mentality that no task is too small -- or too weird -- for you to do (within reason, of course).'
'Show up early, stay late, speak softly and carry a large stick to beat down the competition.'
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