At 16, I decided that one day I was going to move to Nashville and work in the country music industry. No, not as a singer like you may think, but as an entertainment reporter! One day, I gathered the confidence to call a well-known country television station and shared my dream of interviewing country music singers on award show red carpets.
I am sure the public relations department got a good laugh by my call, but to my surprise, they invited my mother and I up to Nashville for a tour of the station.
From that day on, everything I did would eventually land me an internship and full-time job at my “dream company.”
Which leads me to tip #1 of turning an internship into a potential job.
Tip #1: Be passionate about your work! Then, ask for more.
In high school, I volunteered at a country radio station in Atlanta. There, I organized the promotions closet that was full of mini footballs, keychains and koozies. For hours, I sat with the disc jockeys, asking them questions as they showed me how to work their mixers.
In college, I worked early mornings and late nights at our campus TV and radio stations. Off campus, I worked at a local radio station where I would record 30 second commercials for new restaurants coming to town and car dealerships running end-of-month specials. Every item you are tasked with (no matter how big or small), start it with passion, perform it with passion, and complete it with passion. Then, ask “what’s next?” Demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to do whatever is needed for the betterment of the team will only magnify your work ethic and will certainly help you stand out as a star intern!
Tip #2: Don’t underestimate a quick coffee meeting.
Schedule two to three, 15-minute coffee meetings a week. Meet with your internship supervisor, other interns, the receptionist, and yes, c-suite executives!
Some of my best career advice came from a mailroom supervisor I met during an internship. At the time, I did not have any aspirations to coordinate couriers or distribute company mail. Nonetheless, he taught me so much about “the hustle.” He still inspires me all these years later.
Most importantly, ask questions and use this opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the company and learn about the organization’s culture. Propose a shadow day to see firsthand the day-to-day operations of other departments.
Tip #3: Stay in touch.
You’ve made genuine professional connections during your internship, so now it’s time to nurture your network of professionals and maintain them.
- Keep up those coffee (or lunch) meetings.
- Offer to assist with projects or events.
- Connect with the people you met during your internship on LinkedIn. Congratulate them on any accomplishment you may see them tagged in.
- Send birthday and holiday cards to those who you worked with regularly.
- Sign up to receive the company newsletter and follow the company on social media to keep up with the organization’s latest happenings and job openings.
Seeking internship advice? The NASBA Center for the Public Trust is happy to help offer guidance and support. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Ashley Metivier, Student Programs Manager, NASBA Center for the Public Trust