How to Succeed as an Intern

In last week’s post, we discussed what you should be looking for in an internship. Even though not every internship you will come across meets the recommended criteria, the points we discussed should help guide you in your search.

On the other side of internship success is you. Finding an internship is one challenge and the first hurdle a career path. Making the most of that experience and enhancing the right skills are the next hurdles, and hopefully can lead you to full time employment. The first stages of your career are important so take advantage of opportunities that will put you ahead in your career.

So, how do you take advantage of those opportunities? As mentioned in the last post, the PRSA Internship Guide offers advice for students on how to make the most of an internship experience. Below are recommended guidelines for students on things to focus on, ways to improve and tactics to overcome challenges:

  1. Students should communicate to their intern supervisor what their goals and expectations are for the internship.
  2. Students should actively search for internships that are career starters.
  3. Students should independently seek out “learning opportunities,” such as  PRSSA professional development opportunities or educational programs offered by the company providing the internship, to enhance what they are learning through their work.
  4. Students should demonstrate they are ready for additional responsibility by showing initiative and doing more than what is asked of them.
  5. Students need to work to understand office culture including business etiquette, dress code and standards of personal conduct prior to their internship.
  6. Students should have a solid communication foundation prior to being placed in an internship.
  7. Students should learn all they can about the organization’s business and clients before beginning work.
  8. Students should make sure they are adequately insured for medical and other eventualities.

While not all internships offer the same benefits, it is up to you to make the most of it. In today’s economy, interns can’t afford to let an opportunity slip away. Even if you don’t want to end up in the type of firm where you are interning, make sure you work hard for a solid recommendation.

For more information about finding internships and tips on how to be successful, check out JobCenter, your all-in-one career resource center and internship posting board. If you need your Chapter login information, contact Mike Wilson, vice president of internships/job services.

How else can you be successful in an internship? Is there anything else to add to the list?

5 thoughts on “How to Succeed as an Intern

    • Author gravatar

      Great post!

      I also think that networking with different teams/individuals in your office is a great way learn even more about the company/culture/clients etc. The relationships you build with other individuals you don’t direclty work could lead to potentially additional projects and other recommendations for the future.

    • Author gravatar

      Students should be willing to accept any and all work because it can open new doors and help you find your passion too.

    • Author gravatar

      I am looking for a PR intern with experience in promoting events, speakers, & book releases.

    • Author gravatar

      In regards to opening doors for cross-training and networking opportunities, don’t be afraid to shadow various people within your office and even in other departments! The exposure is great, the one-on-one time is invaluable, and the possibilities are endless. Establishing relationships with those other than your direct supervisors can lead to more open doors in the future. Don’t be afraid to keep in touch after the internship, as well. Even if there isn’t a position for you immediately, you may reap the benefits of being a remembered intern later down the road.

      P.S… Ask questions, ask questions and ask even more questions! Learning is a life-long journey; chances are they’re learning everyday from you, too. And if you act as if not an intern, but rather a regular employee (within boundaries, of course!), then you’ll be respected as one. 🙂

      Great post!

    • Author gravatar

      I’m glad you wrote to ask questions, one of life’s hardest lessons to learn!

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