5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Internship! | Professional Development

I recently sat down with our Industry Relations intern at work because she wanted to hear a little more about what I do.  So, that’s how the conversation started, but as I was explaining my position, I unconsciously started adding some tips and tricks I learned along the way while I was still in school and interning for various companies.  That conversation inspired this post and helped me to stop and think about some of the best tools in my tool belt that other young professionals may or may not be using.

1)  Focus less on Instagram, Snapchat, and those other purely social mediums and focus more on LinkedIn and the professional side of social media!  LinkedIn is an underrated tool in the young professionals’ tool belt.  Many times you are forced to create an account for a class (like I was), but then you never update it or go on.  LinkedIn is a great source for not only keeping up with industry trends and sharing professional accolades, but it is also a great way to research potential careers you want and network, as well as find jobs.  Start looking at profiles of established professionals who are in positions that you see yourself holding in the future.  What did they study in school?  What experiences did that accept as they made their way to the position they currently hold?  Don’t be scared to set a connection request either if you find someone you really want to speak with.

2)  And that brings me to tip #2, set up informational calls/interviews or professional meet & greets.  No matter the title, they’re all the same thing- they’re conversations with a professional that you set up with the intent on asking them about their career and the companies they’ve worked for.  Remember, you’re not begging for a job during these- this is a time for research and networking!  These conversations can be held in person, over the computer or on the phone so it’s an easy way to start talking with a company that could be based states away from where you’re currently located.  These are also a great no pressure way of getting yourself in front of a person at a company that you’re interested in.  One last thing, just because it isn’t a job interview doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still prepare for the meeting.  You should still take the time to research the company and the person and formulate questions ahead of time.  Take this seriously and maybe the person on the other end of the line could become a mentor or an instrumental part of reaching your dream job one day.  You never know what could happen so make you’re prepared and you put your best foot forward.

3)  Don’t be afraid to be a little pushy- just not in a negative way!  What I mean is, if there is an area that of the organization that you want to learn more about or a project you want to be a part of, make sure you vocalize it.  Unfortunately, may times, supervisors of internship programs are unable to dedicate enough development and one-on-one time with their interns because they are also performing their other job duties.  All that means is that you need to take imitative as an intern and state what your interests are and ask to sit in meeting and talk to the people that are involved in the projects you want to learn more about.  The worst your supervisor can say is no!  Remember, just because the word “super” is in the word supervisor doesn’t make them a superhero that can read your mind.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!  (Just make sure it doesn’t impede the duties you signed on to perform.)

“Remember, just because the word “super” is in the word supervisor doesn’t make them a superhero that can read your mind.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!”

4)  Try to experience everything you can!  I understand how hard it can be to have an unpaid internship, classes, and another job- but don’t let that stop you from making the most of your internship experience.  At the end of the day, despite the project you were given and the tasks you were assigned, it is up to you to dictate the level of involvement you had at the organization.  When the place you’re working for is hosting events- go to them!  When your supervisor invites you to accompany s/he to an educational lecture they’re attending on marketing- go with them!  When the whole staff is attending a partner organization’s event after hours- go with them!  You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.

5)  My final tip is to be present!  Whether or not you see yourself working for that company in the future or whether or not there’s a potential job opening that you may be interested in, make sure you come to work prepared, professional, and present.  Being present is more than just showing up on time and going through the motions.  Being present is about taking in everything around, all the stimuli, processing it, and appropriately responding to it.  Make the organization you’re interning for hate to let you go!  Give them a reason to want to keep you or at least give you a glowing recommendation at the end of your internship.  I can tell you from first-hand experience that this works.  At the end of my marketing & communications internship with Visit Bucks County, the organization created a temporary assignment for me until they could open a full-time, salaried position that they thought I would be a good fit for because I showed them that I would be an asset to the team- and I did that while I was an intern.  So I promise, it’s possible, you just have to put in the effort from the beginning!

Hopefully one, if not all of these tips help you make the most of your internship experiences.  I’ve had several over the years and I’d be more than happy to talk to you about them, just leave me comment below!

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com

#IslandVibes Part 1: All About Hilton Head Island | #storytime

This is the first post in a mini-series entitled #IslandVibes, which is about my adventures on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (HHI).  (Click here to check out the second blog!)  In the summer of 2016, I packed up my car and moved down to HHI for a two months to intern with Marriott Vacations Worldwide. I honestly started writing this piece as one blog, but it was getting pretty long and I was still in the middle of talking about the island itself, not even the company or the internship, so I’ve decided to break it up a little more.  So without further ado, may I present All About HHI!

Beach. Food. Golf. Repeat.

I have a love-hate relationship with HHI.  First, I was able to walk to the beach from the complex I was living in, which was the most amazing feeling.  It was about a 10-minute walk through the complex building and down the private walkway to the beach.  Also, the island is beautiful and there are some great places to eat.  However, on the other hand, there isn’t much more to do other than go to the beach, eat and drink, and golf (which is not my shtick). After all, HHI is an actual island, so there is only so much you can fit on the approximately 12 by 5 mile space. On top of that, a majority of the island is consumed by plantations and timeshares since HHI is considered a “resort island.”  Because it is a “resort island,” everything is also decently expensive (of course this is all in comparison to where you traveled from).  So despite living by the beach in a tropical climate, you have to consider the time it take you to get on and off island if you need to go other places or have more things to do and retail options.

#IslandVibes Experience Photos

Traveling Around The Island

Another unique feature about the island is that is completely accessibly by bikes.  However, that does mean that all the street signage is lowered, which takes some adjusting to.  The island also looks very green and tropical, which is aesthetically pleasing, but not great for people that are directionally-challenged like me, or first-time visitors, which I was…  Sometimes it’s hard to navigate because the signage can be slightly hidden by the foliage. Speaking of getting around, there’s one main road that goes through the entire island with many, many traffic circles that are scattered across the island. So if you travel from a place where roundabouts are nonexistent, like me, be prepared to potentially get stuck in one and have to go around more than once to actually get off at the right place!

Turtle Talk

One of the lesser known facts about HHI is that it is a destination for loggerhead sea turtles.  Because of this, the island has a curfew of 10 PM along the coast from May to November, their nesting and hatching season. This is to ensure that the hatching sea turtles go toward the moonlight and the ocean and not toward lit houses and companies instead.  To read more about the turtles and this unique island rule, check out this article by the Town of Hilton Head, SC. I should also note that turtles aren’t the only wildlife you’ll encounter. While the island is populated by many different species, I specifically wanted to mentioned that seeing alligators is very common.  In fact, there was a small pond/lagoon on the complex property where I stayed, which was home to an alligator!  You had to walk past him to get to the beach! As long as you leave them alone and just stay aware of their presence, they won’t affect your time in HHI at all.

ExploreHiltonHead.com

Hilton Head Map by Explore Hilton Head

For more information on the island, I recommend checking out ExploreHiltonHead.com, which is where this great graphic of the island came from! Another fun fact about the island is that it is shaped like a shoe. Since the shape it pretty distinct, people commonly refer to their location in shoe-terms, ie: the heel, toe, or ankle.  For instance, I worked in Port Royal, in the heel.

The Gullah Culture

The Gullah culture is an integral and traditional part of Hilton Head Island as well as several other southern states. Gullah is a culture as well as a language that was brought to America by enslaved African Americans in xxx that highlights specific components of West African culture. Seen most prominently are their artistic expressions, such as basketry, quilting, and storytelling.  To read more about their traditions and culture, check out this section of HiltonHeadIsland.org.

The Ohio Strategy

The running joke is that HHI is essentially an extension of Ohio because there are SO MANY Ohioans that stay on the Island. I can truly vouch for that sentiment now because there were countless cars with Ohio license plates that were parked all over the island while I was there. Well, why is that you may ask? What I’ve heard and what I’ve learned from the internet is that HHI previously ran a targeted marketing campaign in the 1950s to engage people from Ohio, and surrounding areas, to travel to Hilton Head.  From Cleveland to HHI, it’s about a 12-hour drive straight down I-77, making it an extremely easy trip. So between geo-targeting and and specific demographic targeting based on the data of who was already visiting paired with the travel route, the Ohio Strategy essentially was the “perfect day trip” campaign since travelers could make it to the Island in one day.  So don’t be confused when you see a ton of Ohio State paraphernalia scattered around the Island. [Read more about the Ohio Strategy here!]

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to explaining Hilton head Island. Of course, I only spent a couple months on the Island so there are so many aspects I didn’t have time to experience. Let me know if you have any other great travel and tourism tips for HHI and whether or not you’ve ever been before!

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com

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