Plan Ahead to Make Your Internship Worthwhile

Yes, an internship can be an excellent experience for both the college student and for the professional, one that takes on the care & feeding of this next generation. But it does take some planning and some care in ensuring that everyone gets something out of this commitment. For the students, I would recommend the following three strategies to ensure it’s a good experience for all.

First, what benefits do you think you will gain in this internship? Will it be skill development, increase of knowledge of an industry or respected references & connections? At the same time, think about what value you can bring to this company to make it worth their time to mentor/train you during your internship. What will make it worthwhile for both of you?

Second, securing an internship is just like doing a job search. You’ll get lots of practice doing that after graduation so practice now when the stakes aren’t quite so high. Learn how to target your desired industries, research opportunities, prepare your resume and then how to “sell” yourself to the hiring person. It’s a great time to practice because most professionals really like college students, especially if they have a few themselves.

Third, treat this job as seriously as if you were being paid the big bucks. Be professional each and every day. You want them to love you and invite you back. Soak up every bit of learning you can – volunteer to attend meetings, take on projects and seek out chances to shadow other people in the office. Keep smiling and building those positive relationships.

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