5 Keys to Being a Succesful Intern

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By: Brian D. Stanchak, @BDStan

When I was a collegiate Director of Athletics, I established an internship program at my former University to assist students obtain “real” work experience within college athletics. My interns were mutually beneficial, as they helped add support to a University with a small budget and minimal staff. The tips below don’t just apply to interns, but also anyone who is building a foundation for their resume.

Make Yourself Indispensable: Do what is asked. Work hard. Be early. Stay late. Come up with creative ideas. Basically, do whatever you can to establish that if your University/company had an opening, they would hire you or if your boss left for another position, he/she would take you with them.

Nothing is Too Small: Employers occasionally test interns to see if they’ll complain when asked to do a small task like getting coffee, copy papers, or clean equipment. Nothing is too small. Do the best job you can at whatever task is asked of you, even if it’s just picking an employee up at the airport.

Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the time for you to learn and prepare for the full-time work-force. Asking questions also further engages you in your position and developing relationships with those you work with.

Get to Know Everyone: You are in the beginning phases of networking. Take advantage of getting to know everyone on staff and maintain contact with them after your internship is over because you never know who may be able to help you down the line.

Document Your Experience: Make sure to document important things you learn during the internship. These documented experiences can be utilized to prepare for a job interview or reference in the future.

Being an intern can be a tough but rewarding position. In most cases, it is the beginning of your tailored, job-specific resume. Make the most of the opportunity you’re provided.