Navigating through the world of internships can be daunting. Which one will be the right one? Will the skills learned at this internship benefit me in the future? What industry am I interested in? There are so many opportunities to explore various paths that will help you decide what to eventually pursue.
Based on my previous, recent experience, I’ll share what I learned from my internships and factors you should consider when choosing one.
During college, I completed three internships, all in the communications field but all focused on different aspects and industries. I was a social media intern for a non-profit organization helping to prevent animal cruelty, a PR intern at an agency with fashion and lifestyle clients, and an intern in the advertising department of a publication for the food industry. I walked away from each internship with valuable skills that I am grateful for and still use today. When selecting your internship, consider whether or not you too will glean these skills based on the role and responsibilities. Here are some takeaways from my internships that you should consider when beginning your first internship:
- I learned TECHNICAL SKILLS. For instance, how to format professional emails, leverage online tools to conduct research for a client and manage time wisely. Some internship tasks will be more exciting than others, but you need to learn the basics before you can do other tasks with maximum effort. Each task, no matter the size, plays an important role in the bigger picture. (Bonus tip: Take notes each time you learn a key technical skill so you can add it to your resume.)
- Explore DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES not only to gain a greater sense of what you want to pursue in your career but because it’s fun! People have a wide range of interests so you might as well take the opportunity to try it all. I’m interested in animals, fashion and food so I explored those industries with internships; however, I chose to start my career in the tech space because it is an industry I find ever-changing and challenging.
- BE YOURSELF. Let your employer know the real you. It will help build a bond and gain their trust. Some in the communications field are, ironically, introverts, but having a friendly personality goes a long way in getting to know your coworkers better and building connections you can leverage later in life.
- Always ASK QUESTIONS if you are unsure of how to do something or don’t understand an assignment. It is easier to get clarification when you start a task versus completing an assignment and having to redo the whole thing later due to a misunderstanding.
- I have to say, the most important thing I learned while interning is to always BE EAGER TO LEARN. Saying yes when asked to take on a task shows your employer your interest and dedication to the company. Working on a new assignment, sending an important email or attending a meeting provides insight into the roles others have in the company.
- Last but not least, ENJOY your internship! Internships are a taste of the real world and you should work hard but also take pride in what you do.
Now that you know what to get out of your internship, here are a few things to consider when selecting one:
- The industry – Communication is broad and goes across all industries so find one that excites you. From tech to fashion to healthcare the possibilities are endless. Look for internships in an industry you are passionate about or explore an industry you wish to learn more about.
- What skills will you learn? – Internships provide the opportunity to expand your skillset and explore new areas within your field. For example, if you want to focus on content creation, media outreach or event planning, look for internships that list those tasks in the description.
- Company culture – Do the people working at the company get along? Is it a friendly environment? Is it easy to talk to higher level executives? Does everyone dress professionally or casually? Find a company culture you could see yourself thriving in.
- Location – Where an internship is located can impact where you build your network. If you want to live in a certain city in the future, interning at a company based there can help you build a strong network to guide you later on.
- Future opportunities – If you are close to graduating or doing an internship post-grad look for an internship at a company that could extend into a full-time position.
Interested in interning with us? Contact us today!