As your spring internship begins, you may have grand ideas of daily meetings with the CEO or high-level, client-facing work. But the reality is that, as an intern, your daily tasks aren’t always glamorous. The good news is that there are actually countless lessons you can learn while you intern, regardless of the tasks you are assigned.
Whether you’re spending your internship this spring taking notes at meetings or gathering coffee for the executives, use the following steps to make your future job hunt easier.
1. Seek out opportunities
Before you start your internship, take a look at some job qualifications of companies you would like to work at someday. What skills are they looking for? What experiences do they require? These are the tasks you should be seeking out at your internship. While your primary focus should be completing the work you are given, use any extra time you have to seek out other opportunities, whether it is helping out with a project or shadowing someone in your office who normally completes this task.
2. Track everything you do
It’s important to start recording specific accomplishments the day you begin your job. Remembering the day-to-day of your internship is harder than it sounds. During internship evaluations, on future resumes, or during interviews, you will want to point to specific tasks you accomplished–and have the data to back up these accomplishments. Also, make an effort to save any of the work you do to show potential future employers later. Keep a document with links, a file of printed projects, or tally a completed assignment list. It will come in handy for your personal website, portfolio, or future resume.
3. Ask for feedback
One of the main points of having a spring internship is to grow professionally. While the work you will be doing will help you expand your experiences, it is also important to work with your supervisor to find your areas of needed growth. If you are turning in projects or writing pieces, ask for feedback or to see the final copy after it has been evaluated and edited. Make meetings with your supervisor to discuss a project if you haven’t seen the final result. Lastly, never be afraid to ask if there are things you could be doing better or more efficiently.
Work isn’t just about work. There’s a social element, too. (Don’t worry, introverts. You can be social over email thanks to GIFs and memes.) Make it a goal to meet and connect with several people in your office throughout your spring internship. You never know who these people might know, where they might go, or what you can learn from them. Not only can they serve as great future resources, but present resources as well. Everyone in your office has their own experiences and skill-sets that can help you learn more about the field. Getting friendly with coworkers at social events, over lunch, and when you chat over assignments is a great way to become familiar with office culture and make lasting connections.
5. Ask questions
Above all, your internship should be a great learning experience. As an intern, you aren’t expected to know everything on your first day. Take this opportunity to learn as much as you can by asking the right questions to the right people. When you get a project or a task, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions to ensure you are doing the task right. Are you interested in a certain topic or department at your office? Set up a meeting with a co-worker to ask him or her about those experiences.
6. Work hard
Even if you don’t love what you are doing, and even if you can’t immediately grasp the importance of each task you are assigned, it’s vital to keep a positive attitude and keep working hard. At the end of an internship, you may not have fallen in love with the company, but with hard work, you can get a great recommendation for future jobs.
Brittany Phillips is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, , a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.