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What to take away from your internship?

In this blog, I will tell you about the key takeaways of doing an internship. You will want to apply for your internship after reading this!

During the school year, you’re busy with coursework, sports, part-time jobs and other activities. That’s why the summer is the perfect time to do an internship. This past summer I had the opportunity to intern with the marketing department at Bryant Bank in Alabama. As I have experience in working in social media, I had little experience in working with other forms of marketing. In this blog I will discuss why internships are more than just a resume builder and what you could take away from your first internship.

There are some differences in the duration of the internship if I compare internships in The Netherlands and internships in the United States. Internship in The Netherlands are usually for the duration of 20 weeks, which is a fantastic opportunity to get a good understanding of what it’s like to work for this company. It will feel more like a job than an internship because of the duration. Most internships in the United States are for about 10-12 weeks because that perfectly fits people’s summer schedules. The 10-12 weeks is a shorter amount of time to show what you’ve got but also a fantastic way to learn a lot of new things in a short amount of time.

Let’s talk about some key point to keep in mind when deciding on getting the most out of your internship:

1.    Applying the skills you learned in class
Internships are more than getting Starbucks for your colleagues and running errands. If that is what your internship is like, then you are not at the right place. An internship is an excellent opportunity to apply the skills you acquired in college in the real world. 

2.    Networking
An internship might only be for a couple weeks or a couple months, but connections will stay forever. Get to know as many people as you can, interact with them and build a connection. Ask them about their career paths, what they do on a daily basis and what advice they would have for you. If you get the opportunity to join any company meetings or events, I would encourage you to attend those. As a Social Media Coordinator, I will obviously advice you to have your LinkedIn profile all set up before you start your internship and connect with the people you meet over time. LinkedIn is a perfect tool to build your professional portfolio.

3.    Professional communications
Most students don’t have a whole lot of experience in working in a professional setting. Dealing with customers, colleagues and bosses is something new to most students. Communicating with your colleagues in person, by phone or by email all requires using professionalism. It’s not like texting your friends or calling your mom. 

4.    Criticism
You will make mistakes and that’s completely fine! During this time, your supervisor will get a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. This is valuable information that you would want to know. Your internship might be one of your first work experiences so take all the feedback you can get so you won’t make the same mistakes at your first job. Besides that, your boss or supervisor has your best interest so don’t take the criticism personal. They want what’s best for you!

5.    Independence 
Besides learning how to work with colleagues and customers, it’s also important to learn how to work independently. Your boss might have a day full of meetings where he or she is not available to help you all the time. You will learn to make your own decisions and figure things out on your own. 

Treat your internship like a job, bring your best effort and be proactive! You never know who will pick up on your work ethic and great skill set. There are times that your internship can result into a job offer or fantastic recommendations. Start applying for those internships and become their favorite intern!