How’s That Internship Going?

Have an internship this summer? Chances are you’re at least a month in. How’s it going? 

By now, you know where the bathroom is, who your co-workers are, and how to make the coffee. But what CONTRIBUTION have you made?

An internship is not simply a job shadow opportunity. Sure, one of the benefits is that you get to see what it’s like to work for that employer, but it’s more of an extended job interview. The main question an employer is asking is: “what contribution can this person bring to our company?”

Now is the time to ask yourself “what have I contributed to the company I am interning with?”

Have you performed the basic duties of the job? Met expectations? Super! But don’t stop there! On your own time, think about ways that you can go above and beyond this summer to truly make an impact on the company who is (probably) paying you.

Maybe they have an area of the office that has never been cleaned up because nobody has any time. Perhaps you have an idea for a better way to organize files. Maybe you know of a technology that they don’t know about that would save them time or money and you can be the one to get them started. Or maybe, you can build them the website they’ve been meaning to build by simply using a free platform like SquareSpace.

Creatively thinking about ways you can contribute will make people take notice of your initiative and your ability to get things done. This could lead to potential job offers, letters of recommendation, extending in the internship into a part-time job during the fall semester, a bonus, or a long term relationship with a future customer or business partner.

Going above and beyond to add value to your internship is time well spent. However, make sure that you ask your superior ahead of time, especially before you incorporate a new process or re-organize an existing system.

Be sure to ask permission in a way that shows initiative, such as “I have a good idea for how we can do X which will save us time/money by ____. Mind if I give it a try?”

Now that you’ve had a few minutes to think about how you can do this in your internship, what do you think? How can you CONTRIBUTE and add extra value to your internship before it’s all over?

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.