The academic year is coming to a close, and many students are gearing up to start summer internships. Internships have now become a must for college students to build experience and get a job post-graduation. According to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, internships or work experience matter more to employers than grades or coursework. Unfortunately, not all internships are as exciting or challenging as you might hope. Interns may often feel under-utilized — particularly graduate students — to the extent that they become bored at work. Still, there's something you can do. Here's how to prove to your employer that it's worth hiring you full time.
Ask For More Work
It may seem intuitive, but sometimes we tend to forget that there is an easy solution to a problem. Ask your internship coordinator if there are more assignments or projects to assist with. They may not even realize that they haven’t provided you with enough work or that you can handle a bigger workload. Being pro-active demonstrates initiative and your internship coordinator will likely take notice, which will be beneficial during internship evaluations and potential future employment. A simple question can be the answer to curing your boredom and standing out.
Showcase Your Skills and Pitch an Idea
As an intern, you bring a fresh set of eyes and ideas to the company. Take some initiative and show your supervisor what value you bring to the table. Perhaps you’re an expert in social media and can pitch some new ideas for the company’s social media pages. Have a new idea to bring revenue to the company? Draft a memo and present it. This is a great way to pass the time AND showcase your expertise.
Enhance Your Skill-Set With An Online Class
If you have free time during the workday, ask your internship coordinator if you’re able to search for an online class to learn a new skill-set that would be pertinent to your internship. For instance, if you’re a social media intern, taking a one-hour online class on new Facebook algorithms would be beneficial not only for you, but to your contributions to the company. There are several websites that offer free courses such as Lynda.com or Edx.org. Course descriptions can range from learning web design, video editing, analytics, or a new language. Learning a new skill may provide you with additional opportunities at your internship that could lead to a full-time position.
Free time at work? Ask a co-worker, fellow intern, or your supervisor to lunch or for a coffee break. It’s important to network internally in the workplace to build rapport and trust. Ideally, you want your internship to turn into a full-time position. When you build strong relationships internally, you’re more likely to gain their support and recommendations if a full-time position becomes available.
Organize and De-clutter
Organizing may not seem like the most fun way to cure your boredom, but it can make you and the rest of the company more productive. And better productivity equals better quality of work and lifestyle, which employers will take notice of. Spend time de-cluttering your desk or organize the online server. Ask your department if there is a specific area that needs filing and organizing. It may seem frivolous and tedious, but if your organization provides the company with a better system moving forward, they’re more likely to remember your contributions when it comes to assessing your potential for future employment.
Look for Opportunities Outside Your Department
Your internship may focus on a specific area or topic, however if you have time to spare, look for other opportunities outside your realm. Remember to speak to your internship coordinator first before doing this, so you don’t make them look bad among their peers. Plus, they’ll be able to put you in contact with other department heads to find a project that best fits your interest. For instance, if you’re a creative design intern but also have an interest in copywriting, there may be a project within the copywriting department or meeting you can attend that your internship coordinator can inform you about. These new opportunities will make the day go by faster and may even lead to a new job opportunity for you down the line.
You may feel bored at times during your internship, but it’s important to use these times to be productive, take initiative, and show the company what a valuable asset you are to them. By using these lull times and turning them into a positive experience, you may increase your chances of becoming a full-time employee post-internship. Cure your boredom and get a job? Sounds like a win-win situation!