The Intern Report: Summer 2014
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Top 10 Internship Takeaways
by Jordan Holley
College: Mississippi State University
Major: Human Sciences (Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising)
Hometown: Huntsville, AL
A little bit about Jordan...
Jordan can now call herself a college graduate (HAIL STATE)! She is a fashionista at heart, adventure lover, world traveler wannabe and on the road to success. No matter where life takes her, Jordan's goal is to remain driven and land a dream job in the fashion and/or marketing industry. Here are her top 10 takeaways from her internship with the NRF Foundation this summer:
1. Introduce yourself to everyone. As my mentor told me on my very first day, "Your internship is what you make it!" Every time I met someone new in the office, I would highlight their name on my staff contact list and write down something that helps me remember them easily. Also, become good friends with the other interns in the office. They will become your "go-to" people!
2. Start figuring out what interests you the most. Find what makes you the happiest and start planning your future around that passion. Ask your mentors what they love most about their job and seek out career advice from them. An internship is a trial run where you can figure out what you love and dislike about a job role before experiencing the real world.
3. Be bold and take risks. Don't wait for an opportunity to come knocking at your door – or should I say desk. Be open to trying new things and sharing your ideas. You never know when your idea will make a difference, or when you'll be the one presenting Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) with a Heroes of Main Street award during the Retail Advocates Summit!
4. Ask for feedback all the time. No matter what you're doing during your internship, show excitement and ask for feedback. If you don't ask for feedback, you will never know where you stand. Feedback is not meant to hurt you; it's meant to make you better at what you enjoy doing.
5. Learn to prioritize your to-do list. Ever heard people say the day has flown by and they feel like nothing has been accomplished? Work days definitely fly by faster than a typical school day, and there are more daily tasks involved, on top of deadlines to meet. Speak with your mentor about deadlines and what tasks require the most time to complete. And don't be afraid to let your boss know that you have too much on your plate and need help prioritizing tasks.
6. Show your team you're eager to learn. You were chosen to be an intern for a particular company for a reason. Embrace that, learn as much as you possibly can and write down just about everything. If you are in a meeting and something doesn't make sense, ask about it afterwards. If you learn about a cool project and want a chance to work on it, show your team you want to be involved. An intern can never learn too much.
7. Have fun outside of work. Work weeks can sometimes feel long, but most internships enable students to live outside of their hometowns and experience somewhere new for a summer. Ask your coworkers about fun things to do, cool places to eat and things to see. Make a list of your top picks and add it to your summer to-do list. Don't worry, Netflix isn't going anywhere, but your summer will. Work hard, play hard!
8. Make plans to grab coffee or lunch with people you want to connect with. If there's somebody cool in the office or outside of work that you want to learn more about, ask them to meet you for coffee or lunch. This is your time to do some networking, ask questions about their background and what you can do to be successful in your own job role. Remember, it's not what you know – it's who you know.
9. Capture memorable moments with a camera or by blogging. During my internship, I have attended different meetings, events and activities outside of work. There's no way I could remember all of the great opportunities that have come my way if it weren't for my camera or blog. You don't have to have an expensive camera or be an expert at blogging to capture your internship moments. Once you have established a successful career, it will be great to look back and see where it all began.
10. Leave a lasting impression in your own unique way. Unfortunately, all internships come to an end, but that is no reason to be sad. Think of all the people you've worked with and everything you've accomplished. Those are things to be proud of! Write personal thank you notes to everyone you've connected with. If you want to go the extra mile (which is always encouraged), create something for your team that will leave a lasting impression and set the standards high for next summer's intern.
This fall, Jordan will continue on her road to success and explore career opportunities in fashion and marketing.