As a full-time student, you don’t always have a lot of time on your hands. Finding time for professional experience, for example with an internship, is often difficult. Between school, homework, sports and even part-time jobs, many students have extremely busy schedules. Short-term internships are the only option for many. If you only have a few weeks to do an internship, it’s important to make the most out of it.
Internships are extremely valuable opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a field. They help young professionals discover their interests and hone their skills. However, internships are also hard work. When you’re taking on an internship role for just a short amount of time, you need to go above and beyond to make a positive impression.
Here are 5 ways to make the most of a short-term internship:
1. Set goals
Set yourself up for success in short term internships by identifying your goals beforehand. Think about why you’re doing the internship. What are the skills you’re looking to gain? If you have a few key goals solidified before your first day, it will be easier to make the most out of your time. Make sure your goals are measurable and realistic, and consider sharing them with someone else in order to hold yourself accountable.
2. Ask questions
Asking questions shows that you are curious, engaged and focused. It also demonstrates that you have prepared for the meeting or presentation, and are familiar with the material. Of course, asking good questions will also help you learn the most you can from your internships. The more questions you ask, the more insight you’ll gain into your field and into good leadership tactics. Additionally, questions are a great way to start a conversation – use your curiosity to your advantage!
Building professional relationships is one of the best ways to make the most of a short-term internship. As a young professional, it is important to meet people in your industry. As an intern with a limited amount of time, networking should be a top priority. While it might be easier to only focus on your intern tasks, or befriending other interns, making connections with members of staff might be a better use of your time. An internship is the perfect opportunity to find mentorship in your field, which can extend beyond the time constraints of summer break
4. Keep a journal
In short-term internships, you’ll be looking to learn a lot in a small amount of time. Consider keeping a journal with you each day, to take note of the most important pieces of advice you receive. You’ll likely be very busy, and keeping everything you learn inside your head can be difficult. Jotting down a few key things throughout your day will also let you look back after and keep track of all your experiences.
5. Be punctual
When you only have a limited amount of time, take advantage of every hour. Regardless of the duration of your internship, you should arrive early or on time every morning. Punctuality is something your supervisor will notice, and it is one of the most important parts of your performance as an intern. Showing up on time or early demonstrates respect for your colleagues. It will also help you to make the most out of your time as an intern. If you are willing to go the extra mile, it won’t go unnoticed.
Looking for a short-term internship? Learn more about our 4-week internship programs.
2.2017 Detroit career exploration trip and reception, by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, CC BY-ND 2.0
3. 2017 Detroit career exploration trip and reception, by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, CC BY-ND 2.0