After a week at our internships, Erica and I decided to share some of our experiences and a few tips about easing in to a new internship and taking advantage of the opportunity.
Laying the Foundation
Get to Know the People
In the first week of the internship, Erica and I attended networking events, company lunches, after-hours socializing, and even wine tasting with our co-workers to get to know them better. Taking the time to know who you’ll be working with and reporting to early in your internship (or any job, for that matter) makes things easier and more enjoyable in the long run. Learn who to turn to for different situations and how everyone expects you to interact with them. Depending on the depth of value your internship will contribute to the company, you don’t want to slow anyone down by not knowing office protocols.
Ask the Silly Questions Now
Use the first few weeks to get a good understanding of the logistics of the company. What time are you supposed to show up for work? How do you schedule meetings? Who do you report to? Are the snacks on the table for everyone? Your co-workers expect these types of questions early on; if you’re asking them a month into the internship, it reflects poorly on you.
Making the Most of It
The third day of my internship, the head of the marketing department was going to meet with one of our service providers and I wanted to sit in on the meeting. I was politely told I couldn’t observe this particular meeting, but that I should continue to ask to participate in opportunities outside the scope of my day to day work. Just because your internship may focus in one area doesn’t mean your learning and experiences should be limited to that one area. Ask the people you work with if it is ok to sit in on some of their meetings or observe their work environment; just be sure to respect their time and space and don’t take it personally if you can’t join their meeting this time around.
Derek is a serial entrepreneur and author of the book “Owning Y.O.U. The Personal Branding Action Guide.” After his recent graduation from the University of Washingtonwith a B.A. in Entrepreneurial Ecommerce, Derek joined PhotoRocket, a photo sharing startup. To find out more, read his blog, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him onLinkedin.
Erica is an NYC-based journalist and recent University of Missouri graduate currently interning at NBC News and participating in the International Radio-Television Society Fellowship program. She spent the last two years reporting for mid-Missouri NBC affiliate KOMU 8 News, researching and experimenting with mobile media production applications for VeriCorder technology, and writing for various newspapers, magazines and Web sites. Now, she’s working on finding her first full-time job, preferably in the media industry! Connect with Erica on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, or check out her Web site!