Sad truth: Internships are a grossly underutilized tool to build your career.
Most interns today leave a lot of value on the table during their internships.
Just focusing on the project assigned to you is not the end goal. Your internship has so much more to offer.
Here are 3 ways you can maximize your next internship experience:
- Start a Project tracker from day 1
Clarify the scope of your project from your manager on Day 01. Ask her what success looks like for your project. Then start a google doc to track the projects you are working on, actions you took, and the results that followed. Update the tracker every week and align it with your manager.
- Proactively find ways to learn more
Create an onboarding plan for yourself. In the first week, connect with as many people as possible, preferably managers and cross-functional team members. Tell them you are an intern and would love to know more about what they do. Display a learning attitude and try to soak in as much information as you can. Prepare a few intelligent questions beforehand to ask each team member.
- Build your network
A beneficial side effect of the previous step is that you will build more connections with people, all of which can come in handy later on to land this job or to look for another one.
- Plan for the future
Keep a list of the names, designations, email ids and phone numbers (if they share it with you) of everyone you meet in the organization. Just keep adding them to a google spreadsheet that can act as your personal CRM. This way you can keep the relationship ongoing even after your internship ends.