With many not being paid, getting everything you can out of them is a must.
In part one, I discussed how internships are a fantastic opportunity to learn. Now, I want to take it one step further and show how internships can and should be used as a platform for growth.
At this point we all know that internships are pretty much a requirement to advance your career and land a full-time job. Having internship experience makes you more credible in a specific line of work and there is no denying that.
However, we often forget to realize that internships are not just about learning or putting something on your resume. They are one of the best platforms for personal growth and development.
Yes, learning is important; but, personal growth in an internship is just as valuable. Every internship you have is a chance for you to gain identity capital in your field of interest.
There are several ways you can approach an internship.
1. Use the internship as something to put on your resume.
2. Use the internship as something you put on your resume and as a chance to learn about a company and your fit within the company.
3. Use the internship as a way to boost your resume, learn about the company and your fit, and as a platform to grow your personal brand and image as a rising sports industry professional.
Personally, I think the third way is the best way to approach an internship. It’s not enough to just go through the motions and think that just because you have an internship you are set. Having an internship doesn’t mean you’ve made it, and there’s room to get complacent. It means the work is just beginning and now you have to prove why you belong and show how you can add value.
To really maximize and enhance your internship you should focus on your personal growth and here are some ways to do that.
1. Ask questions and conduct informational interviews;
2. Learn how the company operates across different departments;
3. Find out what books your supervisors read;
4. Take on responsibilities outside your job description;
5. Push the boundaries of what you are comfortable with; and/or
6. Get to know the other interns just as much, if not more, than your supervisors
From the day you start an internship to the day you leave, you want to be constantly growing.
Lorne Segall the Program Director for Manhattan Sports Business Academy recommends that you, “use internships as a platform for growth. Be humble but look to be better by the time you leave.”
Typically, when you get an internship you use the internship as an opportunity to advance your career. The thought is an internship is the step that will lead to a full time opportunity. That thought is not wrong, but it’s not necessarily correct either.
Not every internship has the chance to lead into a full-time position with that company. However, if you do it right and use it as an opportunity to grow your career portfolio, it has the chance to lead into a full time job or another internship with a different company.
You have to think about the long term when you get an internship. Internships are stepping stones for your career and the better you do in each one, the more success you will have.
To take it one step further, internships are opportunities to build your professional network. Each internship provides you with a chance to get to meet tons of new people especially if you work for a larger company. For smaller companies, it allows you to connect with less people but develop deeper connections.
All of these connections from your internships can lead to new internships or job offers. They may not be able to help with your next internship, but they might be able to help 3 years down the road when you are in the running for your dream promotion.
Internships are building blocks for your future. As you have more internships and experience different company cultures and leadership styles you can start to figure out what you really want to do in sports.
Don’t sit back and be complacent just because you have an internship. Take your internship and use it as a platform to develop yourself and your career.
If you liked this article, click here to check out my free guide on how to break into sports.
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