A college student’s golden ticket to finding employment after graduation is having a meaningful experience outside the classroom. From January to April 2016, I had the privilege to work as an intern within the fundraising department at World Bicycle Relief.
College interns, from Chicago area schools, work in World Bicycle Relief’s Fundraising and Marketing Department each semester— including the summer. Interns are able to dip their feet into the non-profit industry and learn from their supervisor the skills needed to succeed in a philanthropic workplace.
During my experience, the following tips proved to be effective to my professional development. I share these tips because they can be applied to any internship experience and can help you achieve the results that you and your employer are looking for.
Tips for Interns:
Be Proactive about Career Goals in the Workplace
After two weeks, reflect on what you want to accomplish. By gathering general information on how the company operates, think about what relevant projects you want to complete to match your career goals. As a result of your reflection, create an action plan and share it with your supervisor.
Ask for Feedback and Help
Although it may seem intimidating, asking for help or feedback on a project not only saves time, but also shows that you’re willing to learn and are interested in the company. Remember to always take notes when being given directions. Ask your supervisor if you can repeat the directions in order to be on the same page.
Tips for Supervisors:
Trust Your Intern to Deliver Value
Before the internship starts, gather your team together and brainstorm big projects you hope for your intern to complete. The intern can work on this project during their downtime and present it at the end of the internship.
Introduce Your Intern to New Learning Opportunities
Opening new doors to interns allows the supervisor to step back from the boss role and have the intern gain new experiences. This can be through conferences, rotating your intern in different departments, or even introducing them to one of your co-workers for an informational interview.
Tip for Intern and Supervisor:
Create a Project Management Plan
At the beginning of the internship, create project management plan together in order to monitor progress and provide further guidance. Set a weekly meeting to be used as a formal check-in and create a strategy on how to be effective in the workplace.
These tips allowed me to have an enriching experience at World Bicycle Relief and can ultimately help you create a meaningful internship program.
If you’re interested in interning for World Bicycle Relief email Teresa Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author:
Kimiko Fujioka Guillermo was a Fundraising Assistant at World Bicycle Relief. As a senior at Lake Forest College, she was awarded as Student Leader of the Year in 2016.