Owning Your Internship Experience

Are you hoping to gain real-world work experience before graduation? Internships can be a valuable way for you to connect with employers, practice skills you have learned in your courses, better understand your skill set and identify areas for growth, and learn more about potential careers after graduation.

Although it can seem that most of the pressure is on you to prove your worth to a company, an internship is also an opportunity to decide if the position is a good fit for you. Some internships may fit very closely with the work you want to pursue in the future, and others may be filed as additional experience, helping you to decide what you don’t want. The main things to consider are whether you can see yourself in a similar position to the full time employees you are working with, and if there are additional courses or skill sets needed for you to hold this position. Ask about industry trends – are some skills becoming outdated, or are new areas becoming more important for newcomers who want to be competitive applicants?

Be sure to look at aspects outside of the work you are doing as well. This is a company you may spend a significant amount of time working at, and it is important that the industry or company culture fits your needs. What is that culture like? Do people participate in sports or activities outside of work? Do they seem to enjoy working together? It can also be important to know whether these trends are specific to the company you work for, or if they are normal for your industry.

This can also be a great opportunity to learn more about your coworkers. How long have they worked in different positions or with other companies? What have they enjoyed about their time in this industry, and what advice do they have for you as you join the workforce? An internship is a perfect time to build professional relationships and connections that can help you when you are ready to pursue full-time work.

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