An internship can be a great opportunity to gain real-world experience for those starting on a new career path. Yet, many interns often wonder about the best way to get the most out of their opportunity. While there isn’t one definitive answer to this question, there are plenty of ways for you to show that you’re committed to making an impact in your role.

For example, when my internship at Medix first started, I benefited from checking in with my marketing team and asking questions, learning about what the company has done beyond my area of focus and treating my internship as if it was a real job. Having a strong mindset and positive attitude have allowed me to develop greatly over the last few months. Here are three ways to enhance your internship experience, as told by me – an intern!

Ask Questions  

One of the best things an intern can do is to ask questions to their bosses, mentors and team members. Not only do questions show an intern’s coworkers that they are engaged in what they are learning, but it shows their commitment to using this information later on in their career. Many times, interns feel dissuaded from asking questions for fear of appearing less intelligent or, even worse, that they’ll make their boss angry. Oftentimes, what superiors look for is an intern’s ability to ask questions and showcase proactive traits. At the beginning of an internship, it’s a good idea to ask big picture questions such as, “How can I help be an asset to this company throughout the summer?” or “What skills and abilities should I aim to develop over the course of this internship?” Questions such as these will not only improve your relationship with your superiors, but the  answers you receive may help to improve your work and the internship experience.

Learn About Your Surroundings

While interning, it’s important to understand the big picture of what the company that you work for does beyond just the department you’re assigned to. Learning more about what your company does can help you ascertain what market setting you’re in and how to better develop your work to fit the scope of that industry. In fact, many internship programs educate interns on more than just what their department does, but also what’s being done by other divisions. If you’re interested in these interdepartmental learning opportunities, refer back to tip number one; it never hurts to ask! Getting an idea of what the different departments of your company do can help you to build lasting connections throughout an organization.

Treat It Like A “Real” Job 

The final way to enhance your internship experience all comes down to reframing your thinking. During an internship, it’s extremely important to keep a strong mindset as you do your work and picture your internship as a real job. After all, you’re doing real work and producing real results for the organization! This mindset can help you get a good feel for the demands and rhythm work you do. Ultimately, this can help you to decide if you would like to go into that field full-time after graduation. When a professional mindset is applied to internship work, your margin for error gets smaller. By keeping an end goal in mind (in this case, gaining a better understanding of the demands of a particular job role) you’ll notice your work becoming more clear, complete and concise. At the end of the day, an internship equals work experience. If you treat this opportunity like a job, it will pay off in future job searches down the road. 

What Rethinking Your Internship Mindset Can Do For You

While working as an intern, the prospect of keeping up with your day-to-day responsibilities while maintaining big picture goals can be hard. It’s important to remember the power of a positive outlook at this time. For me, a few simple tactics have helped to enhance my internship experience. Making an effort to ask questions, becoming more big picture-minded and treating the internship as if it was a real job can not only ensure that you build great habits, but could end in an opportunity to get hired full-time after graduation.

Looking for a fun, fast-paced career in sales or recruiting after college? Medix is hiring! Visit our careers site to learn more about how you can become part of our growing team!