I am sure everyone is, by now, familiar with the sleeping intern meme that has taken the internet by storm. While it’s definitely one way to maximize your internship experience, this may not be the best way to 1) achieve internet fame, or 2) take full advantage of your time as an intern. Here are some common sense recommendations to get the most out of your internship this summer:
1) Show up on time and ready to work, every day.
This seems simple, but interns sometimes don’t take the opportunity seriously enough. After a few days or weeks, they show up late to work, spend more time on breaks, or purposefully complete tasks at a snail’s pace. You may think that your internship is only for the summer, so limited effort is sufficient. In this competitive job market, you cannot indulge in the ‘only an internship’ mindset. Companies might not fire an intern who is slacking immediately (even though they can), but they will save the more interesting projects or client-facing opportunities for the more engaged interns. Not to mention, if you are hoping for a job offer after the summer or after graduation, employers will remember the engaged intern and pass on the person who seemed bored.
2) Attend non-work-related events or activities.
Companies want interns to have a good experience, especially if they hope to bring on their interns as full-time employees after the program ends or after graduation. Hanover hosts a variety of after-work activities like bowling outings, ball games, happy hours, etc., as part of our summer internship program. We also have a number of activities specific to research teams or departments, so you will have the opportunity to network and socialize with a variety of staff and managers. Even if baseball isn’t your thing, or you roll nothing but gutter balls, show up! You don’t have to stay for the entire event; attend for an hour or two. It might give you an opportunity to meet and speak to other managers or senior-level staff at the company. This is the foundation of professional networking. Learn how to do the small talk thing during your internship. It will be invaluable in life!
3) Send a thank you note.
Think of your internship as a 12 week job interview. At the end of the program, make a list of all of the people who were involved with your hiring and program (from the recruiter and intern coordinator all the way to the most senior person you spoke to at work or met at an internship event) and write each one a thank you note. A handwritten note is ideal (and if you are still at the company, you can drop them off in person or into the mail room for delivery) but email is also acceptable.
4) Update your résumé with your new experience.
Before you get into the swing of the new semester, update your résumé with your new skills and experience while they are still fresh. Be sure to include any projects you worked on or new software you learned how to use. Hanover’s interns receive a variety of training across their internship program, including advanced Excel training, survey training, and professional writing training that will serve them well when they get back to school (as well as on the job market after graduation!). This way, your résumé is ready to go out to prospective employers with your most recent work experience.
-Marcelle Wood, CHRO