This blog post was written by Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Reyna Cazares of California State University, Fresno.
As a student you are constantly told that you need an internship to get your foot in the door. After all, every industry is becoming more competitive as you join the pool of applicants in your field. You are sometimes rushed into any internship so that you can build up your resume. Skills and experience are important because once you're in your field, your employer is going to ask about what you can bring to the company. When it comes to applying and choosing an internship though, it's okay to be picky. Even though you're still a student your time does matter so make the most of it. Here are 4 ways to tell you're getting a worthwhile experience:
1. Your supervisor tries to involve you with as many things as possible. Even though your boss leads a busy schedule, they understand that you are all for helping out -- but also want to learn. A sign of a great internship is when you're invited to office meetings. Now, you may not always get to voice your opinion, but sitting in and listening to the way it's conducted will have an impact on your career. Note that sometimes you'll have to ask to attend a few meetings, and that's okay. Remember that the answer is always "no" if you don't ask.
2. The company culture fits to your aesthetics along with its employees. Make sure that the environment is one that you will feel comfortable in. A comfortable surrounding is one that encourages questions, invites ideas and has open communication. I have interned at companies with happy and unhappy environments. The happy environments always produced easy conversations that included the interns. Conversations lead to networking and networking can lead to a job recommendation one day.
3. There are opportunities for small or big projects. We all know that intern projects are a plus and not a given when it comes to interning. You will have to show your supervisors your worth and what you are capable of doing to receive more responsibilities. After you earn your first project -- whether it's writing your first web story or developing an idea -- it will be easier to move forward. After all, you want to be seen as a professional and not just an "intern" forever.
4. You can acquire skills that you won't learn in the classroom. A huge part about internships is putting your education into perspective for the real world. Learning from a text book doesn't always teach you everything you need to know in order to be successful in your career. The skills you take from your internship will enhance your potential for the future.
Keep this in mind as you wrap up your summer internship and use it to move forward to your next opportunity!