How to Make the Most of Your Internship

This blog post has been updated by Megan Elrath, Career Consultant on April 2, 2024 for relevancy, inclusivity, and formatting.

Internships can be crucial to securing full-time positions and launching your career. But more importantly, internships allow you to “test-drive” different career opportunities and find that perfect fit for you.

The takeaway from your internship is a direct result of what you put into the internship. The following tips are ways to make the most of your internship and impress your employer.

  1. Be Professional
    From dressing appropriately and arriving on time, to staying focused and taking your work seriously, being professional is the most vital tip of all. Don’t forget that an internship is an extended job interview, and the employer is evaluating you for a potential full-time position.
  2. Find a Mentor
    Find someone in the office you can learn from, someone who can share tips and tricks about working in that organization. People love to help their new colleagues, and they’ll be flattered to know that you’re interested in their experiences and asking them for advice. Remember that the UGA Mentor Program can also help you to find a mentor in your field.
  3. Take Initiative
    Always search for answers to your questions before asking your manager or co-workers. Many employers have internal resources that can help you to learn more about the company and its functions. By taking the initiative to locate information on your own, you can ask more targeted questions to help your project get on the right track. You can also take initiative by volunteering to complete tasks that especially interest you and stretch your existing skillset. Just be sure to set your priorities appropriately.
  4. Ask for Feedback
    Set up lunches or coffee breaks with your manager to sit down and assess your progress. Ask questions like: “What can I do better?,” and “Is there anything else I should be doing?” Always thank them for their time, and be sure to begin applying their feedback right away so that you can grow as a professional. Soliciting feedback demonstrates your desire to learn and grow, a trait that employers highly value.
  5. Network
    Put yourself out there and make meaningful connections with co-workers. You never know what you’ll learn or with whom you'll make a great connection. Always follow up with those connections via LinkedIn to help you stay in touch and build your professional network. It’s important to connect with fellow employees professionally, but interacting with them in social settings is also imperative. Try to attend social work functions like philanthropy events, happy hours, and team dinners to get to know your colleagues even better.  

Sometimes doing what’s required of you isn’t enough to set yourself apart as an intern. Taking these extra steps can give you an edge and maximize your internship experience.

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