14 Ways to Get Ahead in Your Internship — From Kim Ciesla

[To comment:larry@larrylitwin.com]

Was surfing the Web this a.m. and ran into this incredible advice from Rowan University public relations graduate and Gold Medallion recipient Kim Ciesla, now with Anne Klein Communications Group. Heed Kimmie’s advice. It will serve you well. Let’s call this a “long” retweet.

(Originally written Tuesday, October 13, 2009)

Before you get there:

1. Know the dress code: There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up in tights when the company’s policy is no tights. And showing up business casual when the dress is really more corporate business attire? Not fun. So do your homework–send your supervisor a quick email asking for a copy of the dress code.

2. Be prepared for research: A lot of interns are required to do research. If you work for an agency, your first day will probably be ALL research so you can familiarize yourself with company clients.

3. Realize that what you give, is what you’ll get: If you work hard, arrive on time (or early) and work diligently, your hard work will be rewarded.

While you’re there:

4. Ask for feedback: Why? Because it shows you care about your job performance. Also, your ability to handle constructive criticism will be noticed and could get you better projects or opportunities in the future.

5. Be proactive: Instead of tweeting all day when you have nothing to do, ask for something to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for projects you’d like to work on. Most of the time your boss will be willing to give you the experience you ask for.

6. Get to the point: When asked to do research for your boss, highlight main points, email articles–anything to make their job easier. Brief them on the most important things they wanted first, then accompany the research with additional info if requested, or in an email so they can refer back to it.

7. Keep a record: Of what you do, the number of hours you intern, etc. It will help when you notice on your Field Experience syllabus that you were supposed to have a log of what you’ve done! It will also give you something to refer back to when updating your resume.

8. Make a contact list: Take note of the people you work around, even if you only meet them once or twice. Get their emails, phone numbers, their twitter name…anything. Stay in contact. You never know when their expertise could come in handy.

9. Keep track of the computer programs you use: Companies find it valuable when interns and potential employees don’t have to be trained in certain areas. Almost everyone is proficient in Word, Excel and PowerPoint by now. So skip it on your resume. Instead, incorporate the unique programs you’ve learned along the way.

10. Use tools to your advantage: The tools you use on a daily basis at your internship could make your life a lot easier in the long run. Create media lists. Utilize the PR Newswire, etc.

11. Ask questions: It shows your paying attention and that you care about doing the task at hand correctly.

12. Take notes: So you don’t ask the same questions twice!

When you leave:

13. Know your limits: If you’re a blogger, are you allowed to blog about the internship? What are your limitations? What’s confidential information? You wouldn’t want to leak something or put something out on the World Wide Web for everyone to see if it’s not supposed to leave the office.

14. Take advantage of outside opportunities: Trade shows, samplings, corporate events. All these things will help you to become well rounded and experienced. And, it will give you a chance to get out of the office setting for a bit

[To comment:larry@larrylitwin.com]