How To: Make the Most Out of Your Internship

March 16th, 2020 Paige Price

For many, the word “internship” conjures memories of summers spent filing papers, making copies, and fetching coffee. That’s just not how we do things around here. We’ve pledged to the businesses we support that we’ll help them recruit top talent and build long, strong pipelines of talent by investing in interns. But you’ve got to go about it the right way. First of all, you get what you pay for. We compensate fairly, offer competitive benefits, and create invaluable learning opportunities to help our interns in their professional and personal growth. Finding an internship like this isn’t easy, but if you manage to snag one, you need to know how to reap the benefits of your new position.

So, we’re here to tell you how to make the most out of your internship, wherever you are.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Showing up empty-handed is never a good look. When you walk in the door, you should know about the company and the team. You should have stalked them on LinkedIn. You should have ideas and questions ready. Say your internship is in social media and you notice that a team member has some interesting past experience in photography that you’d like to learn more about…ask them about it.

DON’T WASTE TIME

We’re big fans of failing, but there’s less time for failure in an internship. So ask questions along the way. If you want to make sure you do something right the first time, ask for advice. If you’re not getting the clarity you need on something, talk to your manager about it.

And let’s not forget that, if you’ve landed the right internship, you’ll be surrounded by professionals that you hope to join one day. It would be a waste not to seize the opportunity to pick their brains. Learn about them, their goals, and how you can help. Get to it.

WRITE IT DOWN

Taking notes shows initiative. It shows that you’re actively listening.  And those notes help you make your to-do lists and prioritize tasks so that you can get back to not wasting time ^^^.

Another perk of writing things down? At the risk of sounding obvious, an internship is a resume booster. If you take good notes, you’ll be able to easily and accurately update your resume while providing concise details about your experience.

OBSERVE & REPEAT

If you don’t have any experience in an office, let me be the first to tell you that office etiquette is really real. Aaaaand it varies. Watch your coworkers so that you can pick up on office norms. Things to look out for…

  • what they wear
  • when they break for lunch and how long they spend out
  • whether or not they wear headphones while they work
  • what time they get to the office and what time they leave
  • whether or not there is an open-door policy with leadership

Try to spend some time just to observe so you can implement these in your own approach.

THAT’S NOT MY JOB

It’s an unacceptable phrase in any workplace – intern or not. If someone ever asks you to do something that you don’t feel falls under your umbrella, the very least you can do is offer to help in any way that you can and then provide additional contacts who can also help to accomplish whatever is being asked of you. But I cannot stress enough that that is the absolute least you can do. As an intern, you should be particularly open to any task thrown your way. This is an opportunity to figure it out. A flexible employee who welcomes challenges is an employee who rises quickly.

STAY IN TOUCH

Please, please, please foster the connections that you make. Connect on LinkedIn, email them when you see something they might be interested in, ask them for advice. Most companies, including 14 West, want to hire interns. We want to hear from you and we want to find a spot for you in our team full time.

To search open internship opportunities with 14 West and the businesses we support, click here.

Paige Price

Talent Acquisition Business Partner at 14 West

"The biggest mistake you can ever make is being too afraid to make one."

Recruiting for 14 West is a whirlwind of learning and growing, and I think that’s what drew me to it. I started here as a Recruiting Intern in 2013 and since then, I’ve never reached a point where I’ve felt the work I was doing was boring or tedious. Far from it…

Part of what sets 14 West apart from other businesses is that you’re encouraged to explore beyond your day-to-day role and are given the opportunity to continuously develop new skills, which in turn, has allowed me to create new career paths for myself. Not only is the business ever-evolving, but its employees are too… if they’re willing to put in the work.

I’ve enjoyed building relationships with both clients and candidates over the past several years. And I have to say… it feels pretty darn good when I know I play a major part in finding a hiring manager a dream candidate and a candidate their dream job at their dream company.