Throughout the summer, our Professional Development committee writes and collects tips, articles and videos that are useful to our members’ professional development, especially for those who have an internship. The first issue features 4 articles to help our members stand out at their new companies:
- First week survival at a new internship
- Reflection: The key to improvement
- Tips on a successful summer internship
- TED Talk: How great leaders inspire action
First week survival
The first week on the job can be exhausting and overwhelming. Here are a few tricks and tips to survive (and thrive) the first week.
- Make sure you are approachable. Stand out as an outgoing, enthusiastic intern. Be the intern that invites everyone to join you for lunch or coffee. Always include everyone!
- Do not over-promise what you can get done. You will want to make a great first impression but do not over commit. Only take on what you know you can complete.
- Learn the company procedures. You may be accustomed to completing tasks a certain way, but be willing to learn how the company does it. Take time to learn how they complete tasks and why they do it that way.
Regardless, stay confident and enjoy your first (or second) week on the job!
Reflection: The key to improvement
Although the summer has just begun, every decision made throughout your internship should be reflected upon. Continuous improvement is dependent upon personal reflection. As philosopher, psychologist, and educator John Dewey says, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” Reflection is key because:
- Reflecting on what has been learned makes experience more productive.
- Reflection builds one’s confidence in the ability to achieve goals, which translates into higher rates of learning.
Spent ten minutes every evening reflecting on the day. Think about every decision made and determine if it was a success or failure. Each failure is an opportunity for the future.
Tips on a successful summer internship
Ryan Boes’ tips:
First of all, congratulations on securing an internship! Whether it be your dream company or something you signed onto last minute, make sure to get the most of your experience. After having two internships and now a full time job, I have a couple of tips to make the most of your summer in the office:
- Set Goals For Yourself – Whether your company has you do this or not, at the beginning of your internship set goals and things you want to accomplish and checkpoints throughout the summer to make sure you are on the right track.
- Keep a CRM and Record Everything – This is something I have been doing the past three years and it has helped me many times. Create an Excel file and record every person you meet: name, contact info, random facts about them, etc. You will be able to go back to this again and again. Also, keep track and save all the big decks you worked on and projects you completed. These are great to have in future interviews.
- Make Use of Your Down Time – In PSE and at Miami we are constantly on the go and being asked to cram 25 hours of work into a 24 hour day. Generally, companies do not want to overwhelm their interns and allocate more time for assigned tasks than might be needed by a Gamma Gamma member. Instead of taking extra-long lunches and twiddling your thumbs, make use of this time! Ask your mentor/manager if you can shadow them or if there is anything you can do to help make their jobs easier. This will pay off in the long run and you will learn more.
- Never Eat Alone! – This is actually a great book I highly recommend reading. Take every opportunity you have to network with the people around you, learn from them and establish a relationship. Even if you don’t plan on staying with your intern company, you never know where that person might be in 5 years.
- Ask LOTS of Questions – Odds are you will have a lot of training and shadowing early on. These are meant to help you learn about the company and your role. I was amazed when time and time again a trainer would put on a presentation and ask for any questions and there would be crickets. I made it my goal to ask as many questions as I could and my trainer went out of her way to let my manager know how much of an impact I made in class.
- Practice What Your Mom Taught You – Throughout your internship, thank the people who are helping you. Your managers and mentors are not getting paid extra to teach you and give you extra work. Saying a quick thank you in person or email can go a long way. Be sure to write hand written thank you cards at the end of your internship and stay in contact with the people who helped you.
I hope these tips help you have a great summer internship experience. Be confident, listen, and record everything and you will go far. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or just want to talk.
Taylor Darkoch’s tips:
Hi everyone! I hope everyone’s internships are off to a strong start. Here are just a few tips that really helped me during my internships:
- Be the first one in, and the last one out – Make a statement by coming in a little bit early and staying just a little bit late. Just because your boss may say leave at 5pm, show them that getting your work done is a priority and get your work done. That way, you’ll have more “free” time and can ask to help with more projects they may not have initially thought to give you.
- Networking & feedback – Try to get to know the other interns AND the full-timers. Whether you can fit it in during the day or you come in early or go out to dinner, get to know people in the office (especially if you want to go back there full time or use them as references). In terms of getting feedback, a lot of internship programs wait until the end to let you know how you performed. Be assertive and ask for feedback every once in a while. It shows that you are confident in what you are doing but that you are always trying to improve your work.
- Hand written thank-you notes – Write nice thank-you notes to anyone you worked with at the end of the summer. It makes a big impact. Also, see if you can pick up hints on people’s birthdays and hobbies and incorporate that into your interactions with them throughout the summer.
How great leaders inspire action