By Madeleine Brown, Director of Membership
Summer internships serve the purpose of gaining as much experience as possible. My goal this summer was to do just that.
I started off my summer with two internships: one at Seventeen Magazine three days a week, and another at a small PR firm two days a week.
I knew right from the beginning of my first day at the PR internship that it was not what I wanted. I panicked, imagining spending my summer doing something that I didn’t enjoy and the idea of not getting the opportunity to learn scared me.
I was fortunate enough to have had another offer from The Peggy Siegal Company, a company that specializes in red carpet events, film screenings, and special dinners. I quit my first PR internship and began working at The Peggy Siegal Company. I love it and the experience that I’m gaining. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to intern there, but it got me thinking: what if I wasn’t as lucky to have had a second offer?
As the summer starts to close, the piece of advice I can offer is to make sure you are making the most of your last few weeks as an intern. Whether you love your internship or know that next year you want to go in a different direction, taking advantage of every last opportunity in and out of the office can help you in the future.
From my experience in the entertainment industry, I have heard over and over that it is truly all about who you know, and it is all about networking and connecting. Making these connections is all about seizing the opportunities that come your way.
Inside the office: Speak up and volunteer
If you feel like you are not gaining as much experience as possible, speak up. Be proactive. Pitch one of your ideas. When an assignment is presented to the interns, be the first to accept it. Your eagerness will show that you are willing to step up to the plate and take any challenge.
When you are in the office, smile to anyone you encounter and say hi. You never know what connections that person may have, and simply being friendly can help you gain a good reputation inside the office.
Network with: Employees
Whether you’re curious to learn more about what a certain employee does or you’re curious to learn how they got to where they are now, email employees and ask to grab coffee. Employees know that interns are there to learn, so they should be more than willing to meet with you. Make sure to follow up with a thank you email. If a job opens up, they’ll remember you as the intern who took the initiative to individually meet with them.
A lot of people tend to forget about another great networking resource—your fellow interns. Grab lunch with them and talk about your career aspirations; you never know, they may know someone at your dream company or have some sort of connection to your dream industry that could help you out.
Outside the office: Make connections
If you hear that someone is interning at a magazine or company that interests you, contact him or her and ask to learn more, or ask to grab coffee. Not only will you potentially make a new friend, but you will also have more networking contacts for the future.
Take advantage of your city
Whether you’re in your hometown for the summer or in a new city, take advantage of all that it has to offer. You’re only there for three months. Be touristy. Enjoy meeting other interns experiencing the city as well. Attend intern and young professional events. Www.ed2010.com as well as http://www.internqueen.com have events held in different cities to connect interns. Also with Penn State’s awesome alumni network, you can easily find other Penn Staters in your city—either interns or young professionals.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and take advantage of all it has to offer!