I Got the Job and So Can You

Friday, April 21, 2017


By Recent Graduate Jessica Mink

Whether you need fieldwork for college credit, or you simply want to gain hands-on experience, internships are the way to go. Not only are they fantastic resume-builders, but internships are a fantastic opportunity to network with industry professionals and expand your knowledge and abilities. The end goal is to impress your employers with your skills; show them you can be an asset to their team so they want to hire you straight away. In today’s tough job market, internships are the key to being hired full-time in your desired industry. I knew that the two P’s—punctuality and professionalism—were key. “You never know," a mentor once told me, “the person standing next to you in the elevator just may be your next employer.”

I’d like to share a few helpful tips that I employed while at my internship at Gateway Community College in the Public Affairs and Marketing Department. I hope they work for you as well as they did for me.

After earning my associates degree at community college, I transferred out of Connecticut to a four-year university, where I graduated with a degree in communication studies. I was offered the option to complete 400 hours of internship in exchange for college credit, which fit into my plan, and I was ready for the challenge. I was excited to finally get hands-on experience in my field, learn from my peers, and confirm that public relations was the career for me. Over the course of four months I was able to complete the required hours, gaining skills and confidence that added to the knowledge I had earned in my studies.


Getting Acquainted

My internship put me in an entirely new and intimidating work environment, but I was excited to finally be in a place where my career potential was taking shape. Something that helped me a great deal in the first few weeks at my internship was taking the time to get a feel for the work culture. I wanted to become part of the team by fitting in with my peers, while demonstrating my skills and desire to learn to my supervisors. The first week or so, I paid close attention to the work culture: how co-workers dressed, how they interacted with one-another, etc. Each internship setting is likely to differ, so it’s important to take note of yours and react accordingly.


Preparation is Key

I learned quickly that if I wanted to make a lasting impression with my department, I had to be willing to go above and beyond what was expected of an entry level intern. There were some days where I stayed after hours to complete the work that was assigned to me, while other times I was given the option to complete the work at home. Starting as an intern you have to prove yourself in the work world and show them what you’re capable of. As a new intern, I knew I would have to pay my dues, and sometimes that meant filing paperwork, inputting data of into a spreadsheet, or even getting coffee down the street. I was given these tasks in the beginning of my internship but I treated them the same as the more exciting ones. Trust me, your co-workers and supervisor will certainly take note of your can-do attitude and be more inclined to give you more important work moving forward. This brings me to my next tip: bring a notebook and pen everywhere with you. If you are like me and have the memory of a goldfish, then your notebook will be your lifeline. Not only will it make you appear responsible and prepared, but you can take notes in meetings, and write down small yet important details that you might otherwise forget. Often times your boss will call you into the office and start spewing off all sorts of critical information. Do yourself a favor and write it ALL down. This includes passwords, log-in information, step-by-step instructions, etc.


Moving Forward

As you continue to learn and progress in your internship, it’s okay to take on more responsibility and, whenever possible, go above and beyond what is expected of you. I specifically remember a time during my internship where I was asked to complete a mail-merge for printing out mailing labels. I took note that nobody else in the office knew how to do this so I created a “How To” so others could use it moving forward. Not only did this save time and frustration for my peers and supervisor in the future, but it also increased their trust in me as a helpful and hardworking team-member.
As cliché as it sounds, think of your mind as a giant sponge, one that soaks up as much information as possible. All the information and knowledge you acquire throughout your time interning, paired with the passion you have for your industry, will surely set you up for success.


Final Steps

Upon completing the required 400 hours for credit, I was hired as a part-time Educational Assistant here at Gateway and I can tell you from experience that I practiced each and every one of the above tips throughout my 400 hour internship.

If you follow the above tips, work as hard as you can, and create lasting professional relationships, you are on the right path to not only making the most out of your internship experience, but getting hired for the job of your dreams. Go out there and make an impression!