Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Internships: The best and the worst

So we’ve talked about finding an internship, getting the most out of the internship you do land, and managing interns. To wrap up this series, I’ve asked some of my fellow career bloggers and Facebook buddies to sound off on their best and worst internship experiences (oh, and I’ll share my experience, too).

What was your favorite internship and why?

One of my favorite internships was the smallest, or so it seemed from the outside of its tiny building in a small city called Lafayette, LA, where I went to college. But the experience and opportunities were even bigger than those I found in my post-grad internship with a global PR firm. My advice to college students scouring for internships: consider small nonprofits like I did where you can wear many hats and have your hands in a variety of projects to truly build a portfolio for the job of your dreams – not just add “making coffee” and “shredding paper” to your resume.” ProfessionGal

Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History! I got to touch Caesar Chavez’s Jacket AND the Indian Jones costume. And other silly fun stuff (like the sex in the city laptop). Internships rock! – Sarah from Facebook (a college buddy of mine)

My favorite internship was with a city government’s public affairs department working on their year-long 150th anniversary celebration. When the in-house magazine editor left for another job, I stepped in and ran the magazine for a few months. Later on the same editor left her next job and, as a recent grad school grad, I again stepped in and took her place (this time as a regular employee). - Me

My favorite internship was by far helping my parents start their 3rd company. I learned more about business that summer than I did in college business courses. - Nicole, Ms. Career Girl

What was your biggest screw-up as an intern and what did you learn from it?

My biggest screw up as an intern was thinking everything would be fun, meaningful, appreciated and glamorous. It was not, and today as a business owner, it’s still not. – Nicole, Ms. Career Girl

While working as an Account Management Intern, the Senior Account Manager went on vacation for a few days and assigned me several projects while she was out, and told me to work with another member of the team. I worked on the projects, and made lots of progress with the other team member, but I didn’t CC her on any of the emails! When she returned, she had no idea about the status of the projects, what was left to be done, or who to follow up with at the client’s company. She told me that in the future, I should CC her on the communication, even though I had a temporary person to work with. This taught me to be mindful of communication, and to think about what information my boss would want to know when they’re out! - Ashley, Consciously Corporate

My biggest screw-up as an intern was when I was reprimanded for spending too much time on personal email at work (pre-Facebook-boom) and had to tell him that I just didn’t have enough to do. Once we were on the same page, I was given a lot more responsibility, and gained a lot more confidence. Since then, I’ve never let spare time at work go to waste…if I can’t find something productive to do, I ask if there’s anything else I can start on, research, or help with. -Me
My biggest screw up during an internship was thinking that I knew everything and trying to change how things were done. I quickly realized that no one liked being told what to do by the intern:) Instead, I decided to gather information throughout the entire internship and put into a paper and presentation format. I then gave it to my boss when I was done and he was amazed with all of the improvement strategies and ideas that I had. – Anna, Classy Career Girl

What were your favorite internships? Any screw-ups to share?


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