Interning 101: Three Easy Tips for Maximizing Your Opportunities

By Courtney Boyd, Editorial Intern

In last year’s corporate internship and scholarship guide, former Atlanta Tribune intern Chela Counts wrote, “For high school and college students nationwide, internships serve as the optimal gateway into the next chapter of life.” Her fresh perspective offers insight on what many businessmen and women would consider the “new entry level.” Yes, internships are a great way to earn professional experience even before earning a degree. Ideally, finding a position (and performing well in that position) may lead you to an actual job. Using last year’s guide can expedite the search. Once you land a part, however, you may feel overwhelmed in your new work environment. Don’t fret. As a current intern, I’m here to help.

Here are three simple ways you can maximize the benefits of an internship.

1. Network. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with everyone in the office (or whatever setting) as soon as possible. Speak often, smile and build solid relationships with those around you. It never hurts to have someone (rooting) in your corner. Remember, success is oftentimes equal parts what you know and who you know. You may need a recommendation one day and, if your boss is rarely at the office, his/her secretary or the next-level supervisor may be willing to write one for you.

2. Over study. Come to work each day having learned something new and with a ready-to-learn attitude. Become familiar with as many work-related topics as you can outside of the actual work environment. Knowing an extra thing or two could set you apart from other interns in your department.

3. Under-study. (See that little play on words?) Find a mentor or someone who is willing to show you the ropes. In this way, you can observe and — lucky you! — learn things that build character as well as tangible experience. An older, more experienced voice can steer you in another lane on the road to success.

Good luck!

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