Taking initiative to maximize your internship experience:
Instead of only doing what you’re assigned, take the extra steps and volunteer more. By showing initiative, you will classify yourself as a superior employee and stand out among the other interns. Lindsey Pollak (author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World) says, “being proactive means you may get assigned a cool project that no one else was smart enough to ask for – something that you can highlight on your resume and promote in future job interviews and raising an internship from the ‘busywork/no experience’ level to the ‘real experience’ level is in your hands.”
Here are some tips:
1. Let your manager know if you have extra time –
Contrary to popular belief, you will not annoy your manager if you ask for more responsibilities. He/she will appreciate your effort to remain valuable to the business and your eagerness to learn. Usually, managers have projects on their own plate that need to be completed meticulously, although schedules do not always permit such care.
During your weekly/bi-weekly meeting, ask for a list of tasks to assist your manager while they juggle multiple projects. By asking for added work, you will avoid unproductive time and gain major brownie points.
2. Volunteer outside your work group –
With your manager’s consent and an excess of free-time from your primary duties, volunteer to help other groups in the company. In my previous post about networking to maximize your internship, I suggested initiating informational meetings with employees from other departments in the company.
In those meetings, try taking responsibility for a task or two. Just remember, saying “no” is not always a bad thing. An inability to complete a promised action is more detrimental than refusing the task from the start.
Keep informed and stay on the lookout for company events. If there are any events taking place during your internship, volunteer to take part in the organization or execution.
The best opportunities to network at company events are to volunteer as an usher or work at the registration desk. Additionally, many companies are involved with projects that support local communities and the environment. Find an event that interests you and get involved.
Company events and community projects will further broaden your network and add more substance to your resume. Not to mention, you will achieve a higher sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from your internship experience.
Nuzhat is a Program Manager and Social Media Specialist responsible for creating, managing and marketing the Web 2.0 strategy for EMC’s University Relations. She represents the EMC Employment Brand to prospective interns & entry level candidates using social media tools & techniques and manages the internal online community for EMC’s interns and new college hires. She hosts on campus career development workshops on resume writing, networking skills, Things To Know Before Entering the Real World, etc. She earned her BS Degree in Logisitc & Supply Chain Management from University of North Texas. To find out more, follow her on twitter. To get more information on internships and entry level oppurtunities at EMC, check out www.emc.com/college and folllow EMCCollege on twitter.