I have had several internships over the years, and have realized they are excellent opportunities for various reasons: I have been able to explore a new career, gain experience and skills in the publication industry, and make important network connections I can utilize in the future. Overall, I feel as though I have been part of a unique situation in which I have contributed to an organization and walked away having gained valuable knowledge for the future. If I were to offer advice to any intern before he or she dives right into the position, I would say remember these key points for the first day:
- Act professionally. This means arrive on time, dress in a manner suited for the workplace and be ready to begin the day.
- Take initiative. Employees are busy and will not always seek you out, so make the first move to ask for additional projects and assignments. If you have down time, use it to review the company’s literature or do additional research.
- Respect the organization and its members. Address people politely and respectfully. Familiarize yourself with the company’s norms and routines so you know what to expect.
- Listen attentively and carefully. Follow instructions to the best of your ability, and take note of what happens at the organization. Remember to always ask clarifying questions when you are unsure.
- Be curious. This is your opportunity to learn as much as possible about the industry and what it means to have a career in this field. People will appreciate your eagerness to learn and acquire new skills.
Lauren is part of Vanderbilt’s Human and Organizational Development (HOD) program and is interning at Parthenon this semester.