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Tips for Optimizing Your Spring Internship

By Emily Drzewiecki

Whether this is your first or last spring internship, get ready to gain at least three months of real resume-boosting industry experience! Especially when considering a career in communications, internships are the perfect way to understand what you like (and don’t like) so that you can hit the ground running upon entering the job market.

So, how can you learn what you need to know, impress those you work for, and secure a job recommendation or full-time offer in such a brief period of time? I reflected on my own best practices as an intern and curated a list of tips I hope you’ll use to make the most out of your spring internship:

Networking: During your internship, you'll have the opportunity to meet and get to know the people related to your intended field of work. Make a goal for yourself to eat lunch with an employee at least once a week. Ask someone in your department to join you for lunch or eat in the break room to make yourself available to chat as people pass through. Although you're there to learn about a prospective career path, you'll make a long-lasting impression if you can connect with them on a personal level. And don't forget to add everyone you meet on LinkedIn with a personal message!

Initiative: If you're reaching the point where you'll be looking for a job within the next year, book a conference room for an hour and make an appointment with someone in Human Resources. Explain that you've experienced a tremendous amount of professional growth during your time as an intern, and given the opportunity, would love to able to continue that growth and be considered for a position if one becomes available. If they decline your request, at least you can say you tried!

Dress Code: "Business Casual" is the new standard in the workplace. As an intern, you want to make the best impression possible. My rule of thumb: dress at least one step better than everyone else.

Last Impressions: Almost as important as your first day, the final day of your internship is an opportunity to define how you want to be remembered. Thank-you cards are a must. Write a note for the break room fridge addressed to the entire firm thanking everyone for contributing to a great experience. If your department is small enough, write one for each person and individualize each message.

  • Tip: Create a word document and draft each note to avoid misspelled words. 

 

Emily Drzewiecki is a counselor at McDougall Communications. She provides counsel to clients seeking to better understand public relations and recognize future opportunities that will help support brand messaging. Her biggest piece of advice for students and young professionals: feed your curiosity and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

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