How to get the most out of your internship

- This is the season for students to line up internships for the summer. Robin Ankton joins us this Job Shop segment to talk about how to make the most out of your internship. She's the regional vice president at Robert Half International.

What are some tips for landing a beneficial internship?
1. Don't' be shy. The best programs fill up early, and competition may be especially fierce in this economy. Aggressively pursue attractive internships. Showing some confidence, while still acting professionally, can work in your favor.
2. Put on the polish. Your cover letter, resume and portfolio should be professional and without error. Likewise, when interviewing, you dress should be appropriate for the work environment.
3. Assess the real value. While internships that pay well are attractive, carefully consider a program before committing to it. You might be better off with an internship that pays less, or is unpaid, but is dedicated to creating valuable experiences.

How can students find internships?

  • Start looking now. Now is the time to start looking - if you wait until the semester is over, a lot of the summer opportunities will be taken.
  • Utilize your school's Career Services Center. It's important to take advantage of any opportunities there very early on.
  • Network whenever possible.  Let everyone know you are looking for a job and meet as many people as possible.
  • Reach out to companies that you have an interest in working for. If there's a company that you're enthusiastic about, check with their HR department about internship opportunities. Make it known your desire to work there.

Once you land the internship, how can you start off on the right foot?

  • Show your independent side. Many firms are stretched thin right now, so demonstrating an ability to work without a lot of direct supervision can be a plus.
  • Be enthusiastic/exhibit a can-do attitude. Be open to taking on a variety of tasks, even if they're not exactly what you expected.
  • Ask questions. The goal is to learn as much as possible during your internship, so don't be afraid to ask questions about the company and processes.
  • Build your network. Take advantage of the professional exposure an internship offers. Talk to as many people as possible and begin to build your professional network with these new contacts. 
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