Ask Not What Your Internship Can Do For You…

I can hardly believe it’s already July. This means that many students are hitting the mid-point of their summer internships. Even though your summer internship is on its downhill slide, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t time left to get more out of the experience.

Now that you have been at your internship site for awhile and are acclimated to the environment, it is a good time to be proactive and take on new work. Maybe you’ve learned that the organization has had a project sitting on the shelf for a long time. If it’s something that interests you, that you feel you can contribute value to, and that advances your learning objectives for the internship, volunteer to work on the project. You’re not only benefitting yourself, but benefitting the organization by stepping up to work on something that they obviously wanted to do but just hadn’t found the time for.

In other cases, you might see a problem on your own. Bring it to the attention of your supervisor, framing it terms of an assignment you would like to take on.

There is a fine line between an intern who takes initiative and an intern who is perceived as a know-it-all. You might not mean any harm. But due to a variety of factors, a co-worker might not take too kindly to your initiative. You may want to read over some strategies for successfully “managing up” to help guide you through this tricky process.

Be sure to talk with your supervisor and get his/her approval before moving forward on any work. This ensures that you don’t overstep your authority and, if you frame the project well, prevents you from appearing disrespectful to other employees. Keep your supervisor appraised of your progress and share your successes with him/her.

By taking the initiative to create work for yourself during your internship, you show your supervisor and co-workers that you have a strong work ethic. It also conveys your interest in the work, since you were obviously observant and thoughful enough to identify a need in the organization. All of this should leave a positive impression on the employees at your internship site. At the conclusion of your internship, they might want to keep you on. At the very least, they will likely want to help you in your future job search.

Take initiative as an intern and create an amazing bullet point for your resume!


For Further Reading:

2 Responses to “Ask Not What Your Internship Can Do For You…”
  1. really interesting and well written article.This is gold dust for students looking for internships

  2. PDXSX says:

    Hey, thanks for the link referral. I would be more than happy to fire you additional content or other information regarding internship or job hunting in the future. I really enjoyed your blog post: ask not what your internship can do for you. Well done!


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