July 29, 2014

How to Rock Your Summer Internship

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It’s hard to believe, but summer is halfway over. Before you know it, it’ll be back-to-school shopping and sweater-wearing season. Soon enough, it’s Christmas!

Alright, that may be a little exaggerated, but you get the point.

With an end to the summer season, comes the end of internship season. If you’re an intern, it’s safe to say that by now you’ve probably made a few mistakes, had some major achievements, and hopefully collected great memories along the way. With my internship experience at TechnologyAdvice winding down, I looked back on the past two months and realized I’ve learned quite a bit. Here are some of my takeaways:

BE PREPARED TO PIVOT

In a growing business (or any business really) your job will change. New tasks will be given and old tasks will be taken away. You’ll be mid-project, arms deep in research, emails, and phone calls, and suddenly you’ll be told to put it on the back burner because something new just came up that’s a higher priority. You may even have to relocate to another part of the office for this new project (we love to play musical desk here at TA). So what do you do? The way I see it, you’ve got two options: you can resent the change, or you can embrace it. My advice? Embrace it. Learn from it. I’ve come to love the fast-paced, ever-changing environment of my company because no two days are the same. There is always something new to challenge me. Being able to adapt to new situations while maintaining a positive attitude is an invaluable skill that everybody – not just interns – should learn.

THERE’S NO “I” IN TEAMWORK

It’s a cliché, but it’s true. This is one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn while interning. Not to say that I don’t like being a part of a team, but I like things to get done my way. Sometimes though, you’ll be given projects that are too big for one person, which is when you need to rely on your co-workers for help. They could see a solution that you never saw, or they could help you come at the issue from a different angle. Whatever the case, you’re all working towards the same goal so why not help each other out along the way?

SET GOALS. THEN SET MORE GOALS.

Without goals, there is no way to measure your success. How do know if you are working up to the company’s standards without specific accomplishments in mind? Ask your manager, and your manager’s manager, what their goals are for the week, for the month, and for the year. Figure those goals out and then set even higher goals for yourself. Every Monday, my manager and I would sit down and discuss what needed to get done by the end of the week. He wanted five product categories reviewed and verified by Friday? I’d get it done by Wednesday. He asked me to make forty calls a day? I’d make fifty. Setting goals for yourself, and surpassing those goals is one of the best feelings in the world. Not only did you far exceed your own expectations, but you also made a significant contribution to your company. It’s a win-win for everyone.

HAVE FUN

This should be understood without saying, but you should actually enjoy your internship! Chances are you’re not going to love every task you’re given, and that’s okay. Approach every new project with enthusiasm and professionalism, and I guarantee you’ll leave the internship with renewed self-confidence and a few new experiences, both professional and personal, under your belt. As for my experience, I’ve had a blast. Everyday I am learning new marketing strategies and meeting new people, not to mention improving my ping-pong skills. How could I not be having fun?

Want to intern for TechnologyAdvice? Lucky for you, they’re hiring for a fall internship and a myriad of other full-time positions. Check out our careers page for more details!

What was your internship experience like? Did I miss any important lessons? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.