Tips & Tricks for a Successful Internship

By: Heidi

This past summer I had the opportunity to work as a marketing intern with Andersen Windows. This was my first time having an internship so overall it was an exciting experience to have my first taste of the ‘real world.’ When reflecting on my experience, I thought there would be valuable things to share for students who may be looking for an internship or are about to start one. Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you with your internship!

Tips and tricks for a successful internship

Take advantage of downtime and network
In between projects, I found myself with some extra time on my hands. I thought how ridiculous I not make use of this time and meet people outside of my team while I was working at a great company. I began scheduling informational interviews with people working in a field I was interested in who could then connect me with people they thought would be beneficial. I also met with people who had careers I hadn’t necessarily considered because I believe you can learn something from everyone you meet. Don’t limit yourself to just meeting people in your bubble of interest. Lastly, meet with people young in their career and people experienced in the field. I found I could relate to those young in their field, but could learn a lot for example from meeting with the VP of my team who had made a lot of movements in his career.

Advice from the CEO
One of the coolest parts of my experience at my summer internship is that we got to sit down in the executive suite and talk to the CEO of the company. Of course, he had many insightful things to share as I’m sure anyone with that level of experience would. When talking about how he got onto the path of becoming CEO, he said in life you will be presented with two choices. One will be the smart choice, and one will be the right choice. You can follow either, smart may be choosing a safe job with good benefits, or the right choice such as following your dreams and taking a chance on a non-traditional path or career opportunity.

Connect with other interns
Each week all of the interns at the location I was working at would meet for lunch. This was a good way for us all to get to know each other and catch up on what each of us was working on. We were all doing something totally different which also gave us more insight on all of the functions of the company. Another way to meet interns was by going to networking events that were put on by Andersen’s Young Professionals Network. This was initially created by a group of interns who wanted to stay connected which gave us the opportunity to meet people across the Corporation who were young in their career.

Make good relationships with people on your team
One thing that was an adjustment for me is that everyone on my team was much older than I was. It was intimidating at first, but they were all welcoming and excited to have an intern join their team. A unique thing this team has been doing for years is a dice game where everyone rolls and the person with the lowest score buys coffee for everyone on Friday morning. Having something fun like this in the office made things playful and was a way to bond each week. Luckily I had good luck with the dice and never had to buy coffee as the stereotypical intern role throughout the whole summer.

Do what you think you can’t
At the beginning of the summer, my manager told me I was going to create a sales dashboard and a certain program I would be using to do so. I had no experience with the program and was even more confused with the amount of data that was going to be brought together. Long story short, yes I finished the report but with my limited knowledge on business intelligence I had to not only ask for help but locate the right people to help me. It was rewarding having it all come together but just know that people are often willing to help as long as you ask.

Although these tips are directed at an Internship experience, I believe reflection is important and can be done at any point in your life and career.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Jeff Sheldon

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