Making the most of an internship
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- An internship, whether it's for a college student, or a mid-career person looking to make a change, can be a valuable tool, says career coach Amanda Guralski, co-founder of BizMe.biz.
"Internships give you the opportunity to get into organization, and really learn, what is their structure? What is their culture? What is their typical day like?" says Guralski, who adds it can also help you avoid a career mistake by letting you try out a work situation before you're committed to a job.
Guralski says even though budgets can be tight, especially for college students, don't ignore unpaid internships. She believes it might give you more leeway to observe many different departments within an organization.
"Sometimes with paid internships, departments are saying, 'This is coming out of our department fund, and they (interns) need to stay here,'" says Guralski, who, as a college student, scored an internship that landed her a job by networking through another internship.
Once you've secured an internship, be sure to show initiative, and be humble, says Guralski.
"You're the rookie," says Guralski, "You might have the book smarts right now, but you don't have career savvy yet."
"You have to realize that some of the tasks that you have in front of you aren't terribly challenging," adds Guralski, who says stepping up and talking to your manager about projects you're interested in can put you on a manager's radar.
Guralski says interns also need to avoid common office pitfalls, including office gossip. "This isn't high school anymore."
Finally, dress professionally, and be friendly to everyone. Guralski says you never know who that person is coming down the hallway, and you never know who might be the "eyes" for someone higher up in the organization.
Guralski is the co-founder of an online magazine aimed at young professional women.
You can access it at BizMe.biz.
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