Internships are the gateway to deciding your career path, providing you with an opportunity to work with experts in your field and offering the experience and advice that will sculpt your career interests. Each internship varies, and it’s important to explore your options and figure out your career path by diversifying your internship. Here are some tips to help you diversify and become an exceptional professional.
The art of networking is not difficult, but may be intimidating as an intern. If you set a goal for yourself, you’ll soon be able to extend the conversation past introductions and small talk. The best places that I’ve found to strike up a conversation are in common areas such as the kitchen or the elevator.
Lattes will be your best friend! Coffee dates often eliminate the pressure of feeling like “just an intern” because it’s a casual setting. You want to make sure that when you set up meetings for coffee that you come prepared. I’ve found it useful to bring a notebook and pen to every meeting because you don’t want miss details. Also, researching who you’re meeting with will help you structure your topics of interest and questions.
Taking Advantage of the experience
Attending workshops has been the most useful tool for me throughout my internship at Weber Shandwick. It’s provided me opportunities to get to know colleagues as well as learning useful tips for career growth and client work. If your company offers workshops, consider it as a benefit to your growth because that means the company cares about your advancement and wants to provide you the tools to do your job better.
Discover what makes you unique and applying that to your work environment. It’s important as an intern that you decide what assets you could bring to the table. As a senior at Hampton University, a Historically Black College University (HBCU) in Hampton, VA, and graduate from Mercer Island High School, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to diverse lifestyles, cultures, religions, and much more. In the summer of 2013, I completed my first internship with a boutique agency in Los Angeles, CA. During this internship, I’ve successfully managed and secured media coverage for both the City Hall Meeting — BLOOM Initiative and The LAGRANT Foundation’s annual scholarship reception.
Overall, I believe your internship should be a way for you to apply your knowledge and an excellent forum to grow professional skills that employers seek. What do you think?
Yahnnica Tate is a former B2B technology intern at Weber Shandwick Seattle.This blog post was earlier published in an edited form in a LAGRANT Foundation newsletter.
Photo credit Sylwia Bartyzel