An interesting article came across my desk recently – 10 Ways to be a Terrible Intern. So this got me thinking; you worked really hard last year, kept up your grades, scored a great internship, and passed your finals. So right now are you just sitting around and waiting for this rock-star internship experience to start in June? How many of you are taking the time to get ready for your internship? Now I know that you might be thinking that the whole reason you got the internship is so that YOU can learn from US, and that’s right! But I’m a firm believer that you will get more than any of your classmates out of an internship if you go in from day one with the right attitude, objectives, and research.
So the article above is a good starting place, and full of pretty obvious “do-not’s” for any intern. But what should you be doing to get ready aside from pressing your khakis? This list is not for the faint of heart – it’s a list full of the things you need to do in the next two weeks to get read to outshine your peers when you get in the door on day one of the internship.
8 Things You Must Do To Prepare for Your Summer Internship
Read the latest news and analyst reports on the company
You will be able to understand the challenges and problems you’re given in your projects if you understand all the ins and outs of the industry, the company, their customers, and any other recent news and reports that have been issued
Research the Team
Head to LinkedIn – update your profile and start researching employees of the company you’re working with. Follow the company on Twitter and LinkedIn. Look for VP’s and Directors to figure out what the big divisions of the company are, and try and figure out who might be on your team. You’ll figure out how the company operates and other leaders and Team Members that you want to connect with during the summer.
Brush up on your networking skills
Even though everyone is friendly at Aprimo, we know it can sometimes be intimidating to network and engage with a bunch of people you’ve never met. So come fully armed – as you run into or are introduced to people plan to ask each of them “Why do you work here?” or “What’s the biggest project you’ve worked on this year?” This will spark a further conversation and give you a lot of insight into the company.
Make a list of objectives
What do you want to accomplish this summer? Why did you want an internship? Who do you want to meet? What business units do you want exposure to? Having this list will be a map for your development in this very short 10-12 weeks. Many managers are more than willing to give you experiences and opportunities if you just know what you want and ask.
Get a new alarm clock
There is no worse impression to be made than being late while you’re in the program. Many companies, including Aprimo, are constantly evaluating interns for job fit, culture fit, leadership, responsibility and so many other characteristics. Put your best foot forward every day.
Research current job openings
Lots of companies have internships that don’t align to an exact match in a full-time position. Since I assume you probably want to have an offer at the end of the summer, take the time to look through their career site at current jobs. If you find something interesting put it on your list of objectives to try and find out more about that job, manager, and department. If it’s a more Sr. position, make it your goal to try and find a manager to explain the career path into that type of job.
Know your strengths….and your weaknesses
There is nothing worse than someone who comes in to a new company and new position and isn’t ready to learn. It’s extremely important to know your strengths and how you can leverage them, but it’s equally important to know your limits. Everyone has them. Know what areas you need development in and be open to help in growing in those areas.
Plan on having fun
Don’t try and burn yourself out – don’t always work through lunch just to prove that you can. Every good manager knows that everyone needs some fun once in a while. If you’re invited to lunch with a new acquaintance – GO. If you’re invited to play a quick round of foosball in the break room with your team member – DO IT. This doesn’t show that you’re lazy – it shows that you fully embrace the culture of the organization.
So that’s it. Just 8 things that not only will make the internship experience better for you, but it will make you look more impressive to all those people who are handing out the full time jobs!