By Ambar Mesa | B.A. Economics | Expected May 2017
This summer I’m interning at a financial services firm in New York City, but before I really figured out what my career interests were I explored different fields from non-profit to market research. While the industries may be different, making the most of my internship was always a constant.
- Stay updated with company/industry news.
Whether you’re working for a Fortune 500 company or a small start-up, staying informed on changes in the industry will give you a better scope of what gives your organization a competitive advantage and the meaning behind your work as an intern. Fully grasping that concept will allow you to perform better on your projects and tasks and put you in a position to be able to hold a conversation with other employees on the different challenges and innovations in the industry. Consider some of the following email newsletters for a quick read with your morning coffee!
- Networking never stops.
You decided to apply for and accept this internship because you’re interested in the field and it is something you may wish to pursue in the future. You may have networked with a recruiter or some of the employees that interviewed you, but now that you’re here, take the time to network with your team, members of your department or other departments to really understand the operations of the organization. You want people to know your name and the projects you’re working on! Tip: Don’t forget the other interns – many of them have had other internships and can also be great people to have in your network as you progress through your career.
- Become a subject-matter expert.
If you’re assigned a project for the duration of your internship, make sure you ask all the right questions to understand the scope of the assignment and how it will be useful after it leaves your desk. You want to make sure you’re the go-to person for any questions regarding the project – a perfect way to add value during your time at the organization!
- Set meaningful goals and track your accomplishments.
At the beginning of your internship, sit down and have a meeting with your manager to set some objectives and skills you’d like to gain by the end of the internship. As the weeks go by, outline your accomplishments and share them with your manager. This will show initiative and it’s a good way for your manager to get to know your strengths and interest. Tip: Don’t forget about your areas of improvement. While meeting goals and accomplishments is great, it’s the constructive criticism that will help you grow throughout your career.
- When you’re an intern, all tasks are equally exciting.
It’s important to keep in mind how fortunate you are to have been given this opportunity and how many other people would love to be in your shoes! That being said, whether you’re asked to run different models for a client presentation or make copies for a meeting, your enthusiasm should be equal for both. Trust me, managers will always remember those moments.