In college, we’re told that internships are key to getting a job. Plain and simple. But the requirements of being an intern can be often be overlooked. It is in my belief that some of the most multi-tasking you will do, will be in college. We juggle class, exercise, friends, homework and jobs or internships. With everything that we’re expected to do while out of the office, it’s weird having to go into your internship or job and switch gears entirely. I have yet to secure a job for the dreaded graduation but I have found a way to nail a couple great internships in my 3.5 years here and that’s because I learned, through trial and error, the ins and outs of being a dependable intern.
For this week’s topic of choice, I will be using a site recommended by one of my PR professors, titled 10 ways to be a dream PR intern. Even though my internships at the University of Oregon are all marketing related, I feel that this site applies to all internships.
The following are a recap of the top 10 ways, outlined by the site above, to be a dream intern and my thoughts on the importance of these qualities.
- Work later than everyone else. This is something that I found would always get your employers attention. Sure, you can be the employee that leaves the second the clock strikes 6:00 but in my opinion, if you have a project that you could finish in a reasonable time, might as well just get it done. That way you can start the next day with a project completed, ready for a new one. It gives you more portfolio work and the opportunity to learn more in less time.
- Ditch the millennial crowd. I have learned that age is just a number. Don’t not hang out with people your age just so you can hang out with the boss, then you just look like a suck up. Create a relationship with all ages in the office. At my internship with the athletic department, I have befriended the other interns as young as 20 and other employees who have been working for the University of Oregon for 50 years. In the workplace, you’ll always have something to talk about and someone to learn from so get to know everyone!
- Pick out an office role model. There’s always going to be someone that you can identify with more than others. I have found that paying attention to their character and work ethic will make you want to work on yours. It could be something as simple as saying hi to everyone that walks through the office or something as complicated as the way they handle a crisis during a football game. Regardless, you’re sure to learn a lot of valuable qualities to carry over into your other jobs, and life.
- Invite someone out for coffee. This is something I have yet to do. I have bonded with the other interns but it’s safe to say they’re in my comfort zone. We’re relatively the same age and are at the same place in our lives. It never hurts to invite someone outside of the comfort zone out for coffee; you never know what you can learn…
- Learn new skills in social media. BINGO! If there’s one thing that has changed in my life since starting my internship with the Oregon athletic department, it would be that I have tweeted significantly more in the 6 months that I’ve worked there than the 3 years that I’ve had a Twitter account. It really does keep me informed with the rapidly changing news in addition to sharing unknown information to those who may not have the access to it…kind of like what I’m doing now.
- Keep up with your selected industry. This relates to # 5 so I’m not really going to touch on this one.
- Don’t just be an intern. Similar to #1, yes, you’re an intern but don’t act like one. If you hope to work for the same company after the internship ends, then act like you are a regular employee, that you belong there. Be willing to do anything and everything because it shows that you’re a hard worker and willing to learn.
- Wear appropriate clothes. Just because you’re an intern, doesn’t mean you should look like one! If you want to be working for this company after the internship ends, or hoping to get a reference, then you need to look and act professionally or else they won’t take you seriously. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. Take off the makeup from the night before, put on a clean shirt and look like you belong there. Make it so no one could guess that you’re “the intern.”
- Interact. Luckily, I don’t have to work in a cubicle; I get to work in an open space with multiple people. Not only does it make me enjoy work more, but it’s a good way to get the creative juices flowing such as suggestions from the Photoshop Wizard sitting next to me or Dreamweaver Dude sitting across the way. It also allows you to constantly be learning.
- Say goodbye. Why just sneak out? Might as well ask if there’s one last thing that needs to be done before you head home. A little bit goes a long way and trust me, it never goes unnoticed.
Have I forgotten any?