Summer internship season is upon us!Over the next few weeks, offices everywhere will open their doors to recent and future grads looking to gain a jump start on their career. Source One is among them. Throughout the summer, we'll welcome a handful of bright, young students to our Chicago and Philadelphia offices for our Analyst Internship Program.
The beauty of an internship is the ability to try out a career path without a significant commitment. It's a win-win for students and employers. Interns can learn what a full-time role in that job function would look like while the employer can see how the intern's skillsets could support their organization.
Whether your internship is just a semester or a year-long program, here are 5 things you can do to optimize your experience and maximize your impact:
1. Ask Questions!Throughout school I'm sure at one point or another you've heard a teacher or mentor say "There's no such thing as a dumb question." It's usually said with a tone of encouragement. Teaches hope it'll inspire reluctant students to ask clarifying questions or, to some degree, challenge the subject of discussion. This doesn't change when you exit the classroom and enter the workforce. If you don't understand the project or are unsure of the relevant terminology, ask. Don't assume. [Insert here the quote about what happens when you assume.] Your questions will allow you to complete the assignment better or even uncover flaws in a process that can lead to improvements.
2. Learn the LanguageEach organization has their own set of vernacular. That's not to mention individual business units. Procurement is no exception. When our interns first get started, we're typically explaining what we mean by Spend and Cost Savings. For us, spend is more than a verb. It's a noun and it's core to what we do as a company. While asking the necessary questions, be sure to get an understanding of the company's colloquialisms. It'll help you better learn the business and more effectively communicate with your coworkers.
3. Set Up Informational InterviewsThe purpose of an internship is to explore a potential profession. You do this by executing the work related to that job role. Take that a step farther by learning more about what your co-workers do. Learn more about what they do, how their teams collaborate, and the direction they'd like to take their careers. This additional perspective could help shape your career path and even empower you to make more of an impact in your role. Understanding your company's organizational structure and your place within it is the first step in moving upward and evolving in your role.
At Source One, we have subject matter experts in a variety of categories. During the on-boarding process, interns are given an overview of our various business and are encouraged to engage with different team members to learn more about different spend categories or industries. Analyst interns are encouraged to meet with these different team members to not only understand the Procurement process better, but also see where they might land if they join full time.
4. Participate in Company EventsBetween your class and work schedule, the last thing you might feel like doing is staying at the office late for an event or giving up your Saturday off. That's understandable, but attending these extra-curricular events could present prime networking opportunities. Depending on the setting, (Source One hosts happy hours, team building, and community give-back activities) these events are great for getting to know your coworkers more personally. You may be able to meet people outside of your department and identify the folks with whom you'd want to set up the informal interviews mentioned above. Take advantage of this time to immerse yourself in the company culture and start building your network.
5. Have Defined GoalsDon't just accept an internship to cross it off your list of must-have's before graduation. Pursue an internship experience that is going to land you the role you want when you graduate. With that in mind, you can start to build the resume that speaks to your skills and paints you as a fit for that dream position. This all starts with asking the right questions during the interview process to understand the internship. Continue these conversations by talking to your manager about accepting responsibilities and joining projects that will support your professional development overtime.
At Source One, we take career development pretty seriously. Our internship program is designed to provide interns with an introduction to the role of a full-time analyst and consultant. Throughout your experience, keep your professional development goals in mind and communicate them to your manager. Together, you can construct a plan that will enable you to crush the internship project work and equip you for future roles.