This article was originally posted by the Beacon, Merrimack College’s student newspaper. To read the original article, please click here.
During the spring 2020 semester I had the opportunity to be a Communication/Public Relations intern at FRESH Communications. This was my first internship, and to say I was terrified is an understatement. Leading up to my first day, I had some many thoughts running through my head. What if they don’t like me? What if I ask stupid questions? What if I have no idea what I am doing? I was getting in my own head while I needed to be confident (or at least fake it till I made it.)
Whether you are about to start your first internship this summer, or even your second or third, first day jitters are more than normal. Starting with a brand new group of people who you only have a few short months to make an impression on can be nerve wracking. But, it is important to remember that they offered you the position for a reason. Out of all the candidates who applied for the spot, they loved your personality, they felt like you had a great work ethic, they thought you had some great experiences on your resume, and they believed you would be a great fit on their team. These are not things to take lightly. Just think of all the other potential interns that didn’t make the cut.
With this all being said, here are five pieces of advice to rock your next internship.
- Treat everyday like it is an interview. This is something that my bosses told me the first day I interned. Although this seemed very daunting at first, they were so right. I went in with the mentality that each day was an interview, and I needed to be on top of all my work. This really pushed me to only present them with my best work, so they could really see what I was capable of. Just because this is an internship and not an actual job doesn’t mean you can turn in just any work. In fact, you should be working harder because you never know whether they will offer you a job after your internship has ended or whether someone there knows someone else that can get you a job.
- Always ask questions. The entire purpose of having an internship is to walk away with more information than you walked in with. So, in order to learn, ask all of the questions! Seriously, I probably asked 5-7 questions a day and they never thought they were silly or got annoyed with me. In fact, they really appreciated the fact that I cared enough about their opinions or to make sure I was doing something right. Yes, you are there to help them with what they need, but you also need to remember they are there to help you with what you need.
- When you finish an assignment, ask for another. Even if you are so tired, or want to go home early – ask for another assignment. There is a 50 percent chance they will tell you they don’t have another assignment for that day, but in the chance they do, you are taking the initiative. The difference between an “okay” intern and an “amazing” intern is the initiative that you take. Go the extra mile, and even if your boss doesn’t have anything for you, see if you can be any help to others or even help tidy up the office.
- Set goals to complete by the end of your internship. This might be a little tough, especially if you’re not completely sure if you don’t know your job duties yet. But, go in with at least a slight idea. For example, going into my internship with FRESH I knew I wanted to learn how to work with clients. In order to complete this goal, I asked my bosses if I could sit in during their phone calls with clients as long as I wasn’t swamped with other work. Doing this allowed me to 1) take initiative to prove I wanted to learn and 2) learn more about how to talk with clients and see what really goes on behind the scenes.
- Always be curious. This kind of goes along with asking questions, but in a different way. When I say always be curious, maybe you hear your bosses working on a project and you ask them how they are going to tackle it. Or, maybe your company is taking on a new client and you are curious as to how they are going to pitch the client in order to really succeed. This shows that you are super attentive and really care about the potential career path. Being curious is always a good thing, and I can promise that your bosses will appreciate the fact you want to learn more about something that wasn’t expected of you.
If you do have a summer internship, I wish you the best of luck. I have a summer internship as a Social Media Intern, and I have already started to take my own advice. Remember, what you put into your internship is what you will get out of it. If you want to actually make this an experience to remember, then act like it and put the work in. Hard work pays off, and it will be rewarded one way or another.
Originally Written & Published by: Briana Alberghini ’21, Editor in Chief of the Merrimack College Beacon