Internship Halftime Show

Posted on July 25, 2012. Filed under: Career, College, Internship | Tags: , , , |

With summer internships at the halfway mark this is a great time to take stock and evaluate how things are going.  This can be a turning point in your internship experience where the potential for learning and connecting is at its peak, but things can also fall apart permanently if not addressed.

Here are some areas to focus on as you approach the last half of your internship experience.

Document Challenges and Rewards:  Keeping a journal of critical incidents at your internship will help you to understand what you have learned about your field and yourself.  What new skills have you learned that can now be added to your resume?  What areas need improvement?  Are there pieces that still need to be filled in? If you don’t document your experiences as they happen, it will be difficult to recreate for future use.

Time for an Evaluation:  Ask for a mid-point evaluation of your performance and be prepared to listen to and act on constructive feedback.  Did you make a mistake?  That’s okay – you are an intern and perfection should not be expected by you or your supervisor.  How you handle the situation is what is important.  Mistakes are an opportunity to demonstrate your personal values and professional work ethic. On the other hand, if you’ve exceeded expectations, ask for more substantive work.

Develop your Work Style: Did you adapt well to your new environment?  Does the culture of the organization fit you?  If not, is this the right career field for you? It’s just as valuable to know what doesn’t work for you, as it is to confirm what does! Under what kind of management style do you perform best? The more you know your own performance and capabilities the better positioned you are to “sell” that to a potential employer.

Work Your Network: This is the time to kick your networking skills into high gear! Are you attending the right events?  Are you talking to everyone you meet? You should have your “elevator speech” perfected by now! Keep adding to that collection of business cards and follow up.

Find a Mentor:  Now that you have had time to get to know people at work you should be looking out for a mentor. Connect with people throughout organization and conduct informational interviews.  Is there someone you have a good rapport with?  Did that person seem responsive your to questions?  Remember, a mentor does not have to be someone in your exact field, but a seasoned professional who is willing to provide advice and feedback on your career.

Don’t wait any longer to address these areas and get the most out of your experience.  It’s not too late to turn a so-so internship into a life-changing one.  It’s your show!


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