Internships are about more than just getting coffee.
Welcome to Part 1 of a 3-part internship series. For my next three articles I am going to break down different benefits of internships so you can maximize your experience and set yourself up for your future career success and enjoyment.
People often talk about the value of an internship. Some people say they are pointless. Others will stand by them forever. Personally, I think internships are massively valuable and a huge part of someone’s professional development.
I don’t think every internship you do will be amazing, but I do think every internship is valuable and provides you with actionable and valuable takeaways.
I’ve had some great internships and I’ve had some internships that I hated. BUT, every internship provided me with a new experience that ultimately helped me get to where I am today and for that, I am thankful.
No matter whether you love or hate your internship, internships provide you with experience; more specifically they provide you with a chance to learn, a chance to grow and a chance to add to your ever-evolving resume.
For this first part, I am going to breakdown how and why internships are an incredible opportunity to LEARN!
One of the most valuable benefits of an internship is having the opportunity to learn. Internships are a fantastic way to learn about yourself, the people you work with, and the company/industry you are interning for.
LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
A huge reason for doing an internship is to learn about yourself and figure out if this is really a company or industry you can see yourself working in. We will discuss in part two how internships can be a growth opportunity, but at the base of every internship it is your responsibility to learn as much as you can to set yourself up for your next experience and your career. In order to learn about yourself during your internship you have to be open to trying new things, be willing to take initiative, and go above and beyond to test your limits.
Ryan Lawrence the VP of Catalyst Sports and Entertainment said it best in our Elevate Your Sports Career interview. “Show your willingness to learn. Go above and beyond what your role may be to learn and better yourself.”
He speaks from experience and he speaks the truth. Internships are a chance to prove yourself but more importantly a chance to learn about yourself and what you really want to do in sports. The only way you will truly learn is if you challenge yourself!
LEARN ABOUT PEOPLE
A company may be spectacular and you may think it is the greatest place ever, but if the people you work with aren’t up to par, it may not be a good fit. Just as you can learn a lot about yourself in an internship you can learn a lot about a company culture and the people you work with through internships.
People are the driving force behind business so it is important to make sure you take time to learn about your colleagues. You should learn everything you can about as many employees as possible. By doing so, you open yourself up to learning about all the different journeys people have taken to get where they are. Better yet, you start to develop real relationships with the people who can impact your future at the company.
Also, your colleagues are the ones you can learn the most from because they’ve already done what you are doing. You can (and should) meet everyone in the office during an internship. Sometimes people only get to know colleagues in their department, but challenge yourself to meet people across departments and learn the different personalities that each employee possesses. The more people you meet and connect with, the more you can learn.
Take it one step further and ask for informational interviews to learn as much as you can. People will give you the answers you seek, but you have to be the one to ask and take initiative.
LEARN ABOUT THE COMPANY/INDUSTRY
As someone who will be looking for full-time work after an internship, you can use your time to study the company and learn from the inside what they are all about. You can see if it is really a company you want to be a part of.
If you are working for a ticket sales department in the NBA, see what types of software they use and try to start learning it. See if that software is used across the league because if it is, you should probably become as familiar with it as possible.
If you are interning for a company like Adidas, you should spend time reading articles about who their top endorsers are and then compare that to other companies in the industry. You should understand the global landscape of the shoe market and how Adidas compares with their competitors. You should read articles on Front Office Sports like this.
When I interned for Relativity Sports, one of my biggest goals was to learn. As a matter of fact, I made it a priority to constantly learn. I wanted to learn as much as I could because I wanted to make sure I liked the people and believed in the company. This internship was my first real chance at learning the ins and outs of a sports agency.
From the week I started until the day I left, I was always asking to have lunch with my colleagues and superiors because I wanted to get to know about them and the company. I wanted to learn all about what people did and how the different departments worked together. I constantly asked for new tasks so I could see the range of responsibilities someone could have in a role. I loved going to staff meetings because it gave me a chance to learn about the company and their strategy. By going in with a sponge mentality, I was able to learn valuable information that led to some great relationships and opportunities.
Every internship you have is going to be a different experience, but if you go into each internship with a desire to learn, you will be one step closer to maximizing your experience. Knowledge is power and the more you learn the more you will be ready for your next adventure.
Part 2 debuts next week and I’ll be discussing how internships are an opportunity for personal growth and development. If you liked this article, click here to check out my free guide on how to break into sports.
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