One very important thing to remember as you begin your next internship is that your internship is what you make of it. As we’ve said before, your internship is not all about you, so sometimes you’re going to have to go out of your way to find the value in your role. Here are three tips that will help maximize the impact of your internship and set you up for future success:
1. Set up informational interviews. The most valuable part of an internship is the network it creates for you. If you want to get a job in Hollywood after graduation, you’re going to need connections that can help you get there. Set up meetings with executives and assistants across the company, and learn as much as you can from them. Then, be sure to stay in touch after the internship has ended.
2. Stay busy. It’s true, many internships are boring, either because your supervisor is too busy to give you assignments or because there’s simply not much work that the team needs your help with. But spending the entire day on Facebook isn’t an option – if other employees see your computer screen, they’ll assume you aren’t a very reliable intern. So, if you run out of tasks, ask your supervisor if there’s anything you can help with. It will serve as a reminder that you need things to do, and she’ll be glad you took the initiative to ask. If your supervisor doesn’t need anything, see if there’s a way you can create some work for yourself. Think of assignments that might help the team in some way – compiling competitive reports, talent lists, newsletters, etc. – and see if there are any processes you can implement or research you can do that will make the department better. Aside from avoiding boredom, you’ll score major bonus points for making everyone’s lives easier!
3. Read everything. One benefit of internships is that you have access to lots of proprietary information that you wouldn’t be able to learn otherwise. So, when you’re given scripts or documents to organize (or shred!), try to read them all to learn more about the business and stay up to date with what your team is working on. Obviously, don’t go digging around in filing cabinets without permission, but if you take the time to read everything you’re given, you’ll come out of your internship a lot more informed. Plus, reading takes up a lot of time and can help mitigate boredom!
It’s a bummer that many internships don’t turn out to be as great as they sounded in the interview. Sometimes supervisors won’t be able to give you their full attention. Sometimes the work will be too easy. But it’s crucial that you’re always learning during your internship, so if you find yourself getting bored, figure out something you want to know more about and try out these tips!
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan