I have only been at my company for ten weeks but I have learned a ton and I am surprisingly sad that my internship is coming to a close – the end of my internship, also marks the end of my short stay in Portland, the end of the PDXSX program and the end of weekly happy hours with you lovely people. And I am frightened because I finally have to face the decision of what I want to do next.
I digress, today I am writing about what I have learned from my internship:
1. Portray confidence. At the start of any internship the company throws a bunch of information, files and facts at you. This will most likely feel overwhelming (it always does for me) but do not be discouraged, it gets easier. After about two weeks you will know exactly what is expected of you and the assignments will be relatively routine.
2. Kill ‘em with kindness. There is no such thing as being too conscientious. Taking the time to give a birthday card, to take your boss to coffee or to write a thoughtful note will take you far in an office environment. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.
3. Network. The people in your office should be used for informational interviews, advice, and potential employer connections. I failed to build relationships with my coworkers at my first internship; thus, we did not keep in touch after I left and the internship did not benefit me as much as it potentially could have. And don’t forget to purchase business cards; they are crucial for networking events!
4. Be a user. I do not mean this in the traditional sense; I am simply suggesting that you utilize your resources to the fullest. Therefore, ask your coworkers to critique your resume, online portfolio and anything else that needs review. The more feedback you get the better.
5. Do a self-assessment. It is easy to get caught up in work and forget to question whether you are actually happy or satisfied. Ask yourself if your internship position fits with your career goals. I recently did a self-assessment and realized that social media is not something I want to specialize in.
I have self-assessed and learned many things during these past ten weeks but unfortunately I still am uncertain of what is next on my path. Perhaps I will teach English abroad through TEFL, like Ayni. Perhaps, I will find a job in San Francisco. Perhaps I will WWOOF. I am not sure what my next move is but I am confident that the things I learned in this internship will benefit me on any road I choose to travel.
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons user mkrigsman