August 22, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

How to Prepare for Project Management Internships

By Rene Williams

project management internshipsIf you are a non-traditional student, which is someone who has returned to college over the age of 25, it can be difficult trying to organize your life. Attending college/university for an education in project management means you will have a variety of career options to choose from, but it is important that you find a way to do an internship before graduation. Whether you complete paid or non-paid internships, the position will not only provide you with valuable experience, but an internship will help you decide if this is the career for you.

If you are considering a career in project management, the following tips will help you find an internship, what to do during and after the internship.

Finding an Internship

The first step is to decide what type of internship you are interested in.

  • Whether you attend a traditional college or are earning your degree through an online college, the first place to research information about a project manager internship is through the school. Many colleges have an established relationship with a variety of companies that offer internships. There is an advantage to applying for internships through the school you attend, because the internship is already established and the company will understand what the goal of your internship is.
  • If you are working at a company that provides additional training and you want to expand your career options with the same company, talk with the personnel manager about an in-house internship. In some situations, applying for an in-house internship means you may get paid for the experience. It is also beneficial in helping to secure a promotion following your internship and graduation.
  • The internet is also a great place to find internships. Simply do a search for companies in your area that pertain to what you want to do, either search their website for information about internships or call the personnel department directly for information. This is the perfect opportunity to contact a specific organization or company you have always wanted to work for. Do not be intimidated about contacting them, in fact, your determination will make you stand out.

During the Internship

If your goal is to turn your internship into a position with the company, here are a few things you can do to improve your chances. The first rule for turning an internship into a full time job is to be remembered for your professionalism and impressive work skills.

  • Work hard, come early and stay late. You will make a difference by working harder than the employees who already work there.
  • Pretend you’re not an intern. In other words, be mature and responsible. Do not discuss your weekend at the local club or how much you dislike working in general. Act like a member of the company and you will be seen as one.
  • Dress appropriately. During the initial interview, ask about the dress code and follow it. Never break the rules.
  • Seek out a mentor. Observe how the other employees work, notice who is dedicated to the company and who is not and ask a seasoned employee to help guide you through the company expectations. Ask how you can improve your skills and what you are doing wrong.
  • Impressions are gold. Hand in all assignments before the deadline, come up with fresh ideas and be excited to accomplish assigned tasks.

After the Internship

Once your internship has ended, send an email to each person in the department in which you worked thanking them for the experience. It is also beneficial to alert the team you have been working with on when your last day will be and offer to help tie up any loose ends with projects they have before leaving. Regardless of how you felt about your boss during the internship, it is vital that you personally thank them for the opportunity. Schedule an appointment to meet with your supervisor and not only thank them, but to let them know what you have learned and how valuable it will be for your career. Remember to mention that you would like to keep in touch.

Absorb any information presented to you throughout the internship and learn from it. Interning is a great opportunity to make sure you have chosen the right field or not. If during the internship you learn that a particular company is not the type of work you want to do, try a different company next year, but do not give up on your goal of being a project manager, just keep trying and you will eventually find the best company for you.

About the Author: Rene Williams is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to DegreeJungle, an online resource for prospective college students and their parents. She suggests you visit their website to learn more information about the best online colleges.

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