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How to Make the Most of an Internship

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Before landing your first job out of college, you should fill in your resume with a couple of internships. While in college, or even high school, participating in a variety of internships is a good way to get experience, figure out a career path and build a network of contacts.

Here are some tips to getting the best experience from an internship:

Know what’s expected of you

An intern usually fills an administrative role in an organization. When interviewing, ask how an intern spends the day and what skills are expected of you. It’s a good idea to ask about flexibility too. Ask if there will be any opportunities to speak with employees about their careers or meetings you might be able to join.

Stay positive

An enthusiastic attitude is a great way of making a good impression on the people you work with and can open more opportunities. Take the work, no matter how menial, seriously and do it well. Gaining the trust of your supervisor early in the internship could lead to more hands on experiences.

Seek out your supervisor

Along with a positive attitude, it is important to take the time to introduce yourself to the supervisor. Keep the conversation open throughout your internship by asking for feedback and advice. Be genuine and grateful for the experience. Your first contacts in the working world can be crucial to finding a job you love.

Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities

The best part of being an intern is having the flexibility to be in meetings other employees are not in. Ask about upcoming meetings or events you can sit in on. The more exposure you can get to an organization and industry, the better your internship will be.

Ask for an exit interview

Towards the end of your internship, make plans to have an exit interview with your supervisor. Internships are learning experiences and having an honest conversation about your strengths and weaknesses with a supervisor is an excellent way to learning what you do well and what you should improve.

Write a thank you note

When it’s time to leave your internship, write thank you notes for the employees you worked with. A simple note is an easy way to leave a big lasting impression. Companies can go through a lot of interns every year so standing out in any way possible is imperative.

Stay in contact

An internship is the best way to begin building your network of contacts. Before you leave, gather contact information of the employees you interacted with and maintain a relationship. Ask to be kept in the loop about job openings and other opportunities anyone might hear about. Remember, everyone has had to start with the challenge of finding their first job so most people are happy to help.

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