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Creating a Successful Internship

Training & Orientation

Take advantage of being an intern! Utilize your first few days to meet people, learn the history and mission of the organization and develop an understanding of how you and your work fit into the bigger picture. Arrange meetings with key players. Ask a lot of questions and keep notes. Don't fake it - now's the time to learn what you don't know.

Adopt a Winning Approach

Employers value interns who not only do their job, but who do it well and consistently go beyond expectations. Demonstrate a readiness to learn. Don’t just do your job, learn as much as you can from every experience (watching coworkers, reading, asking for additional assignments). Have a positive attitude. If your approach is positive, you will get more out of it. Show confidence, but not arrogance. Contribute your ideas, but don't assume that your answer is the right one. Demonstrate a good work ethic and always be mindful when you're on "company time." Avoid personal calls, email, IMing, web surfing, cell phones at work.

Communication Strategies

The key to success in most endeavors is good communication. Start with a clear understanding of what's expected of you. Understand your job, learn by what measures you'll be evaluated and use training time to ask questions. Develop strong communication with your supervisor. Learn how he/she likes to communicate (what time of day, what method, scheduled or informal, frequency). When sharing problems, start with the positive, be specific about the concern and offer solutions for consideration.

Turn an Internship into a Career Position

It’s often easier to pick up an internship or summer job these days than a full-time career position. But a temporary job can lead to a regular position, particularly if you make the right moves. Here are tips that may help you move from a temporary position to a permanent job.

Reflect on Your Experience

Consider ways to record your internship experience. Keeping a journal, writing down reactions to specific incidents, or keeping a log of various tasks completed can help you to identify what you learned and the skills developed. This will help you communicate your skills and experience on your résumé and in future job interviews. It also helps you to process your experience and learn from it – internships are a great time to observe and make mistakes. Be sure to keep examples of your work, such as brochures you designed or articles you wrote, to develop a work portfolio. These might come in handy for interviews or writing sample submissions.

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