Every ambitious college student knows that completing a successful internship is essential to success. Earning a degree has become just a piece of the puzzle for those who wish to graduate and be hired into the workforce. Employers are looking for more than just a certificate proving you sat through 104 credits of classroom time, they are looking for an experience filled résumé. That experience is gained through internships, some of which can be frustratingly mundane “hey intern, I need 500 copies of this TPS report by noon.” Others though, like my current position at Matter, can be valuable learning experiences you don’t want to waste. Here’s what I’ve learned so far, working at a high-energy results-driven public relations firm:
- Ask Questions: You have been hired already, now it’s time to do the job they brought you on to do. Any employer will be much happier answering a confused intern’s question than scolding them for a mistake. You are working in PR, so odds are your co-workers are extremely approachable and friendly people who are more than willing to help you out.
- Take Initiative: Demonstrate your value by volunteering for tasks. Don’t overstep your boundaries or drown yourself in work trying to impress your managers, but don’t sit around waiting to be told what to do. If you think you can handle a task, go for it!
- Punctual and Professional: This isn’t your part-time job during the school year. Your PR firm (hopefully) doesn’t make you wear a hair net, and showing up late to work is exponentially worse. Be on time and ready to work. Complete your assignments diligently, and act confident in your professional community.
- You’re going to make a mistake: It’s going to happen. At some point, you are bound to mess something up and there is really nothing you can do to prevent it. What you can do is learn from it.
- Be a Sponge: Remember that an internship is a chance to grow and learn. Try and take in as much information as you can, because most of it will be knowledge you can’t learn sheltered in a lecture hall or buried in a text book.