With any internship experience, whether you’re just doing it for college credit or want to network your way into your dream job, you’re going to want to make the most out of it. How you might ask? If you’re new to the world of interning and need a bit of guidance, here are eight hardworking interns who were kind enough to share their wisdom.
We asked: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from an internship?
Christian Allaire, Ryerson University
“Go after what you want. In a time when companies are increasingly relying on the help of interns, it’s not always easy getting to do everything you had hoped to do during your internship. So on top of being an asset to your workplace, you should also make personal objectives for yourself as well – whether that’s exploring the different departments or building relationships with editors.”
Naomi Leanage, University of Guelph-Humber
The most important thing I’ve learned from an internship is that going above and beyond of what’s expected of you is what’s going to make you get noticed. There are dozens of other interns with the same skills and knowledge that you have, and the one thing that will make you stand out is your passion! At my internship at Tribute, I made an effort to check in with my editor everyday to chat, even about things that didn’t relate to tasks that I was working on. It helped build a relationship with her, and I’m for sure someone she’ll remember in a line of ever-changing interns. I also made sure to express my interests (doing interviews, writing movie reviews) and because of that, I’ve gotten opportunities in two weeks that other interns had to wait months to receive. It’s important not to be intimidated, and if you have a great idea, to go ahead and pitch it!
Erin McHenry, Drake University
“After interning as a communications intern for a government agency, I learned that I’m NOT interested in corporate communication the government . I learned a lot and greatly improved my writing skills, which will be helpful for any job I take. Even if you don’t enjoy an internship you still learn something: It’s not the right place for you, and you’re one step closer to finding your perfect job.”
Kaela Popoff, Kwantlen University
“The key thing I learned from my internship was the importance of communication. Checking in with your supervisors or boss about where you are at with your work and what you’ve completed helps them know how much work to give you. This way you’re never swamped nor bored, and you can meet your deadlines!”
Catherine Dugas, Fashion Institute of Technology
“The most valuable thing I’ve learned from interning has to be that organization and attention to detail are key. There are so many small details that go into running a big company and they truly make all the difference. If you aren’t naturally organized, make sure to use an agenda and download organization apps on your phone keep you on point!”
Hillary MacDonald, Ryerson University
“Listen, observe and pick the brains of those who work in positions that you would like to one day have.”
Kristin Doherty, Drake University
“What I’ve learned most is how important it is to work as a team with your coworkers and fellow interns. At the beginning of my internship, I felt a little competitive about who was getting the best assignments or doing the best job. But now I realize that we’re all working toward the same team goals. It’s more important for each of us to play to our strengths for the benefit of the team than to compete with each other for recognition or attention.”
Terrence Freeman, Humber College
“The most important thing I have learned from my internship so far is that things are rarely black and white, and you have to expect the unexpected. You have to figure a lot of things out on your own as you go, and you will likely run into dilemmas and have to figure out a lot on the spot without the help of your bosses who are often busy, or may not be there to help such as in a case where you are out of the office running an errand. I’ve now learned to expect to run into slight dilemmas here and there, so I try to ask my bosses an many questions as possible when I can before a task, and I also try to understand and remember what my bosses would want or do in the situation.”