Don’t just intern, WINtern

 By Ian Twamley, General Manager
Internships are awesome. Getting a paid internship at a place like Facebook may be what you have your heart set on, but if it doesn’t work out, don’t think you can’t have just as great of an experience somewhere smaller. Looking at my past experiences, I made this short list that helped make my internships some of the most useful experiences of my life.

1. Relax, you are there to learn: It may be your first time working in an office setting, and it’s easy to feel numb with anxiety. You can’t make the most out of your experience if you are scared of screwing up. Just trust yourself, be diligent and enjoy the experience.

2. Learn names: Nothing is more awkward than trying to explain you were given a project by “the lady with curly blonde hair and the robust body type.” Learn names quickly.

3. Ask questions: Want to hear something crazy? In the real world, projects don’t come with directions lined out in step-by-step detail like they do in school. I know, NUTS. Usually you are given a task verbally or by e-mail and expected to figure it out. Ask lots of questions before starting a project. You will thank me.

4. Loosen up!: You are probably the youngest person in the office, which automatically makes you the coolest. Have fun with your co-workers, joke around and get to know them. Showing a little personality will keep you fresh in their minds long after your internship has ended.

5. Schedule informational interviews: You committed to this internship so that you could build the skills that one day will help you find a “real job” right? Set up informational interviews with everyone you work with. From presidents to entry-level staff, they all have tons of insight that will be invaluable to your future job-hunt.

6. Show initiative: Ask to sit in on a meeting; see if someone needs help on a project; offer to write an entry for the company blog. Companies want hard-workers that can be productive on their own.

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