Three Tips For a Successful Internship

Posted August 15, 2013 by Cassandra Ehrhart in Career Moves
This past summer I completed an internship with Career Girl Network. This is the first internship that required me to relocate and really go outside my comfort zone. It was an incredible experience, and by the end of the summer I felt like a new person.

I now feel thoroughly prepared to go into my senior year of college and ready to break into the workforce. I learned so much along the way and discovered opportunities I would have never considered before.

If you’re starting an internship, here’s three tips on how to get the most out of it and have sustainable success:

  1. Be observant and listen–all the time: When I came home for the first time from my internship, I found myself more articulate than usual. When asked what I was doing this summer my answer sounded professional, and I had no trouble answering it. However, it wasn’t because I was practicing my pitch, it was because I heard it from both of my bosses every day. When someone in the office takes a phone call, an interview, etc., make sure you listen and pay careful attention to how they present themselves. I suddenly found myself trying to mirror Kathi and Marcy’s confidence and assurance all the time. I feel ready to present myself at interviews, conferences, you name it, because I took mental notes and learned from how they carry themselves.
  2. Ask for help: When I was unsure about anything, I felt 100% comfortable asking for help from my superiors. However, I was lucky enough to have a pleasant office culture and realize this isn’t the case for everyone. If your office is a bit uptight or you feel nervous around your boss, look at it as a challenge for yourself. Make a point to ask for help if you’re ever unsure; it’s better to ask first to avoid a misstep. Asking for help is also a great way to build a relationship with your co-worker. Whoever you ask will remember your face, what you’re working on, what department you’re in, etc. After someone helps you out, ask what they’re working on, or how you can learn more about what they do at the company.
  3. Use your co-workers contacts to grow your professional network: Students and job-seekers always hear the same thing: it’s all about who you know. The majority of finding a job, especially fresh out of school, is networking.  A great resume and skills to succeed are obvious, but if you know someone within a company you want to work for, the chances of succeeding are much higher. After several informational interviews this summer, I’ve heard the same thing over and over again: who I know is who you know. This may not ring true for every person you meet, but if you feel comfortable with someone at work, reach out to see if he/she knows someone who can give you more insight about your field. Go through your co-workers’ LinkedIn contacts: is there someone you’d like to meet? Ask your colleague for an introduction. When you reach out and ask for advice and information, it shows you genuinely care and you’re putting in extra effort to succeed.

I hope these tips allow you to feel ready to go into an internship with confidence and a game plan for success. I was lucky enough to have an invaluable internship experience, and I hope you are too. 

About the Author

Cassandra Ehrhart

Cassandra Ehrhart is a results driven, public relations professional. She's currently a senior at Indiana University, Bloomington. This semester she's working for Coca-Cola as a Brand Ambassador, Author Solutions, Inc. as a Marketing Intern, and serving as the 2013-2014 Director of Communications for IU's Public Relations Student Society of America. She’s a bona fide dog lover from a small town in Indiana. There's not much that makes her happier than her niece and red wine. Cassandra is passionate about the mission of CGN and is proud to contribute her knowledge as a rising career girl.