The Keys to a Successful Internship

I’ve just completed what will likely be the last internship of my career (I got hired!), and to wrap up the summer at Blue State Digital, there are a few key lessons I’d like to take away from the experience:

1. Be positive.

A positive attitude can go a long way. I’m not necessarily talking about being a Yes Man (or Woman) all the time, but it pays to be willing to jump in and take on responsibilities. I’m lucky that Blue State Digital is a company that gives real work to their interns and never asks interns to coffee. With internships that ask you to get coffee in lieu of helping with real work, I think it can be harder to stay positive. For me, being positive didn’t mean being overly smile-y, it meant being thrown into sink or swim situations and staying afloat.

2. Ask questions.

Interns are not supposed to know how everything works – that’s the point of an internship. Especially with such a digitally-advanced company, in the beginning I sat in a lot of meetings with a scrunched up nose and knitted eyebrows. I couldn’t let myself be afraid to ask questions because I would have spent the summer confused and I wouldn’t have learned anything (which, again, is the point of an internship). Asking questions told my managers that I was interested in learning, and sometimes, I asked questions that prompted them to think of something they hadn’t considered. That’s a win-win.

3. Make allies.

One of the smartest decisions I made during my internship was finding people in the office that I could latch onto. First, I found a middle-level manager, close to my age but with a good amount of experience, that became my mentor. It helped that she was very friendly and willing to help me; she’s someone who I immediately grabbed onto as a valuable resource who I was comfortable with. Then, because of how the teams are set up at BSD, I was on several accounts with one communications specialist who happened to need help keeping her tasks organized. I became known for being the person to go to when you need that communications specialist to do something. And ultimately, I think this was one of the big reasons they decided to hire me full-time – I found a place where I was needed, where I could add value.

It was a great summer, and by far the most successful internship I’ve ever had (which I would have said even if I hadn’t been hired as a full-time employee). Now, I’m happy to take these learnings and evolve them as an Account Coordinator!