How to Benefit from an Internship


An internship is an amazing opportunity that can help you progress in your career.  However, just completing your hours isn’t enough.  If you want your internship to take you places, you need to be strategic about it.  If you work hard and make connections, your internship will open doors for you.  Here are some steps that you can take to make the magic happen:

Actively make connections.  One of the big advantages to doing an internship is that you have the opportunity to make connections from inside the organization.  This gives you access to people that would otherwise be difficult for you to meet.  Work hard at developing as many of these relationships as you can.  Since these people work in your industry, you never know who might connect you to an amazing opportunity.   

Exceed their expectations.  If you are an intern at a particular company, then chances are they had interns before you and they will have interns after you.  You need to find a way to stand out from the pack.  Go above and beyond the call of duty and don’t be afraid to take initiative if you see something that needs to be done.

Show enthusiasm.  One of the biggest reasons that companies will hire someone with very little experience over someone with more experience is because of enthusiasm.  If they can see that you are genuinely happy to be there and you are passionate about your work, they might decide that they want to keep you around even after you’ve completed your hours.

Be proactive.  The truth is that although many managers want to take on interns, once the interns start working, it’s a bit of a chore to find things for them to do.  For that reason, many interns end up doing odd jobs that have little to do with their field of study.  Seek out your manager and ask them for work to do.  It is also important to get their feedback.  Often by being proactive, you can make the internship experience a lot more beneficial.

No matter what happens with your internship, the most important thing is that you maintain a positive attitude.  If you work hard and stay positive, you will receive a good reference which in itself can make the whole experience worthwhile.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of TAW4 at


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