Getting the Most Out of Your Internship

By: Jill Tatios, Communications/Digital Strategy Committee Member

student-849825_1920After a lengthy search, application and interview process you finally got the internship you’ve been hoping for. Congrats! But that’s only the beginning. Aside from giving you a fancy title on your resume, the main purpose of your internship is to gain valuable experience, network and have a positive impact on the team you’ll be working with.

This past summer I interned at QVC’s headquarters in my hometown of West Chester, PA. As their Corporate Communications intern, I worked directly with the external communications team but also supported internal communications and community affairs. QVC is the world’s leading video and e-commerce retailer, so I obviously had some nervous excitement going into my new position. Starting an internship for anyone can be a mixture of nervousness and excitement, but here are some takeaways that I’ve learned to help get you on track to becoming a stellar intern.

Take initiative

In my case, my intern position was relatively new to the company and therefore my responsibilities were not entirely laid out. This may also be the case for you when starting your internship. Instead of slacking off, use this as an opportunity to think of other ways you can contribute positively to your team. Maybe it means doing extra research that wasn’t asked of you, getting started on a project independently or coming up with a more efficient way of doing something. Without overstepping your bounds, your supervisor and team will appreciate your initiative and self-motivation.

Be punctual

Plain and simple. It’s extremely important to arrive on time. Consistently showing up late shows a lack of responsibility, professionalism and time management. Remember, no one likes his or her time wasted. Be sure to give yourself extra travel time to your internship and aim to arrive at least 5 minutes early to meetings.

Ask questions

Sometimes it can be difficult to ask questions when you’re unsure about something, either out of fear, intimidation or self-pride. Despite this, it’s always better to do it the right way because you asked instead of doing it the wrong way because you were too afraid to ask for clarification. Asking questions also shows that you are interested and passionate about the industry.

Pay attention to detail

When given an assignment, it can be tempting to get it done as fast as possible, but remember they’re more interested in it being done well with attention to detail rather than how quickly you can complete it. Always thoroughly check your work before sending an email or showing it to your supervisor. They will be impressed by your diligence!

Explore the company or organization

Fortunately for me, QVC wants their employees to be knowledgeable about all pockets of the business and encourages meeting with others from different departments. Some top executives of QVC even made multiple lateral movements within the company in order to discover what they were truly passionate about.

Since QVC promoted this culture, throughout the summer I emailed various individuals from all areas of the company asking if they would be willing to meet with me. More often than not, they would be happy to meet for a half hour or so to discuss their role within the company. This is also an opportunity to network with other professionals. Even if you’re not particularly interested in one person’s area of the business, you never know if you may cross his or her path again.

Be enthusiastic

Simply put, no one wants to work with someone who has a negative attitude. If your supervisor asks you to do something, do it happily and eagerly. No moaning and groaning! Your enthusiasm will help you stand out as a memorable intern.

Hopefully you gained some valuable insight on how to get the most out of your internship! What are your tips?

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