Ready for more? You can never have enough advice so thankfully, we’ve got plenty in store.
Many members agreed that your willingness to learn can determine how successful your internship will be. Elizabeth Cole, Director of Curriculum, wants you to know that it’s ok to ask questions.
“I think my biggest piece of advice would be to watch, listen, learn and ask questions! No one is going to get mad at you for verifying a process or asking a question. It’s better to ask so you can make sure everything is correct before hitting submit/send! Nothing worse than the feeling of providing incorrect info to a customer. “
VP of Operations, Erica Ytterbo, would seemingly agree with that advice.
“The key to success is your willingness to learn. Be open-minded, ask questions, and completely throw yourself into learning more about the company, people, and everything else that there is to know. Be intellectually curious.”
Michael Buckles, Director of Onboarding, had this to say:
“Just soak everything up that you can. Getting an internship as a freshman or sophomore can be so valuable as long as you go into it with the right attitude. Be a sponge. Soak up everything you are learning and don’t take any of it for granted.”
Paige Cuevas, VP of Collaborations, wanted to remind you to step out of your comfort zone.
“The tip that I have is to let yourself evolve in the company’s culture and step out of your comfort zone and ask people throughout the company who have different positions and work in different departments to lunch or to grab a cup of coffee!”
A few members of CAC wanted to remind you that an internship can and will be challenging and that you need to be prepared. Sydney Wolff, VP of Strategic Initiative, wants you to know this great piece of advice:
“Although I’m not technically doing an internship this summer, working as a leadership counselor in a military school has had its vicissitudes and I think a lot of what I do translates to the workplace.
My biggest piece of advice would be to expect the unexpected. There are going to be additional tasks thrown onto your plate at the last minute, you’ll be working with new groups of people and have to adapt to their working styles. If you go in with an open mind and ready to take on whatever comes your way, you’ll be more successful.”
Director of Annual Events, Kelly Specht, was eager to give her help.
“Get used to working in an unstructured environment. We are assigned projects for our managers, and it is good to be able to problem solve own without having a rubric. I think some managers are a lot more specific with their instructions than others, but ideally we should be able to complete high quality deliverables without being handed a rubric. Also, if we don’t have something to work on, I think it is ideal for interns to volunteer to help out other account managers/team members. A lot of us have gotten to help out with some cool things, because we volunteered to work on something extra.
Be enthusiastic about learning, even if the learning opportunities are not always exciting. We have had a lot of training opportunities at CDW, and I think we get more out of them if we ask questions during the training. Today I got to go tour the Google office in Chicago, which was awesome!”
Some members just wanted to remind you how important it is to keep a smile on your face when times get tough. Co-Chair, Stephenson Swan, gave this important advice:
“During an internship often time you get a lot of freedom, an income, and sometimes an opportunity to experience a unique part of the country. It is very important to remember that your first priority is to DO A JOB. Even if you decide early on during your internship that it will not be a great fit for you in the long term, you will not learn as much if you don’t give it 110%.
DO NOT GIVE UP. Even if you hate what you are doing, where you are living, or the people you are working with, don’t quit or stop giving it your all. You want to experience as much as possible about the work environment, and you can’t do that if you stop trying.
*Disclaimer: If you are being asked to do something you find to be unethical or illegal, talk to a mentor about what you should do and how you should best handle the situation.*”
Avery Panaleano, VP of People, had advice that would agree with Stephenson’s.
“Maintain a positive attitude! Even if you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, keeping a positive attitude will help you to keep cognizant of the lessons that you are learning and the skills that you are accumulating!”
My advice? It’s simple. If you are lucky enough to have an internship where you have a lot of freedom in what projects you work on, ask if you can dabble in many different things. I am getting a well rounded view of the company I am working for and it is helping me shape myself and the kind of professional I want to be.
Lastly, Co-Chair David Baxter wanted to offer his help to make sure you make the most of your internship.
“I think I did 4 things differently and that’s what made me stand out:
I rode the ‘positivity train’ Always had a good attitude in the office and out I know it meant a lot to Sam and Jen to see myself and a few other interns not complaining about Cleveland… because I know a lot of interns complained loudly. [Never complain]
Lived the ISMs honest to god, I have read that book like 12 times. [live your company culture, do what your leaders do, if they suit up every day but other interns don’t, I suggest you suit up. Dress and act like the person you want to be]
CREATE work, I came up with ideas of projects I wanted to do and asked If I could do them. I also always asked my leader if I could come to his meetings and I learned a ton from that. I like to think some of my biggest projects came from being in a meeting and offering an idea of how I can help.
Meet people! Peeps [ A training leader] became a close mentor of mine just from me randomly asking to do a 1-on-1 with him. [Introduce yourself to people outside of your unit]”
I know the summer is almost over and that means your internship is too. However, it’s never too late to offer help for next summer! Constructing this post and the last has taught me a lot and I am sure you are able to take away a thing or two! Now, get back out there and kill it.