On August 21, I wrap up my internship this summer at Mac’s List in Portland, Oregon. I feel more self-assured about my future than would have ever felt just working another part-time summer job.
This internship has successfully changed my life and I can’t wait to see who steps up to the plate and takes Mac’s List towards even more success in the coming years. Next month when I pass the torch to my successor (want my job? apply here) and I’ll also share these four lessons I learned on what it takes to have a successful internship.
1.) Ask questions. Lots of them. Be honest with yourself on the information you already know and what you need to be taught. There are no stupid questions only stupid mistakes that can be the product of not asking questions.
2.) Own up to your mistakes. Everybody makes errors. Just be careful in the future and learn from it! (This is a lesson that can be used in any context not only during an internship)
3.) Get ready to learn new tricks. An internship gives you the chance to see old subjects in new ways. Take social media, for example. I knew tons about the personal use of Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t know much about how businesses depend on social media platforms to communicate with their clients. As the author of the social media sites for Mac’s List, I learned what people are saying, what they like, and how I can reach out into the Portland audience to build a greater relationship between this company and the community.
4.) Taking risks pays off. Okay, I admit it: When I first stepped off the elevator onto the 7th floor of the downtown Portland building that houses the Mac’s List office, I was nervous. Because of the friendliness of the entire office, however, I felt immediately part of the team. Adjusting to a 9-to-5 pace during the summer was a much smoother transition with the help and encouragement of my colleagues in the Prichard office. Working for Mac’s List was challenging at times, but it has done wonders for my confidence and my portfolio. I feel more self-assured about my future and I now have a professional online presence that will serve me well.
Besides the lessons I personally learned, there are lots of other good online resources about successful internships. The Career Services Office at Portland State University has an excellent resource page about internships as well this useful sheet with nine tips for interns. And in an article for AOL News, Alison Green explains the top 10 mistakes interns make.
What lessons have you learned from your internships? What resources would you recommend to interns?
Want to be my successor? Apply here!
Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Spree2010