Well, that’s a wrap. Today officially marks the end of my 14 week internship with Bay of Quinte Tourism. It has been a long, fun journey and I cannot believe that it is already over.
After having a one-day-a-week internship from January to April and having this one Monday to Friday for 14 weeks, I have new insights on the workings of internships. Here is some advice I have learned from my internships this past year.
Pick Your Place Wisely
If you have the opportunity to pick your own placement like I did for both of mine, I highly recommend you put thought into your choices rather than picking the easy way out or those recommended for you. My program offered us all a list of placements that students had completed in the past as well as job openings submitted to the coordinator. Rather than using these businesses that were provided to us, I sought out my own placements based on my interests. This will not only allow you to enhance your networking skills and have a better time personally but you will also be more productive when you are doing something you are passionate about.
You’ve heard it time and time again since grade school on the back of your report cards that you should be constantly creating goals for yourself. I was personally one of the people who hated creating goals and to be honest, I still hate doing it. But, I do it. When you are completing your internship, your supervisors will ask you to do a ton of different tasks. This is great to keep you busy and help the organization, but you always need to be asking yourself what you want to gain from the internship for yourself. What things do you love doing? What things do you wish you were better at? Make a list and ask for more experience in those areas to better develop your skill set.
This is something I really wish I had done during my internship. During school I would network a ton in person or through email with professionals or past students. During my internship, however, I was also working two part time jobs so I felt like I did not have time to network. I also was a little too confident in the idea that my internship might land me a full-time job and did not realize the importance of continuing to look for other companies. When it comes down to it: there is always. time. to. network. People remember someone who takes the time to reach out, arrange a meeting, buy them a coffee and just chat. Ultimately, it could land you your full-time job in the long run.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Whether you have an idea for something you can work on or if something is happening that you don’t agree with, don’t be afraid to speak up. I wish I had done this more rather than stewing over issues or keeping ideas locked up in my head, but I have always been more of an introvert. What I didn’t realize in the moment, though, is that just as I was completing placements for the first time, this was the first time the business had a student from my program as well so open communication would have been helpful for both parties.
Keep All Material You Contribute To
Even if you just edited the piece for a co-worker or added one paragraph to a project, keep all of your work samples during your internship in a folder on your desktop or a physical folder. This will be so much easier for organizing your portfolio for job interviews in the future to tailor it towards the job you are applying for. The smallest amount of work on a project can still show potential employers that you are a vital part to any team, no matter the size.
All in all, I am beyond happy with how both of my placements went. I am also so grateful that my program offers two real world experiences, so that even though I am just about to graduate I already have hands-on experience contributing my services to two well-known companies. An internship is only as beneficial as you make it, so make the most of all opportunities presented to you to make it worth while.
Until next time,