June 27, 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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The Right Internship Can Give Experience and Career Opportunities

By Jennifer Moore

This article is aimed at students who consider internships to expose themselves to more career opportunities, for example in project management. Also discover 5 tips for best performance on internship programs.

Internships for experience and career opportunities As a college student, you may want to take on a business internship. This is a type of on-the-job training that prepares you for your future career, whether this is in project management or any other field. Suitable internship opportunities can give you a better feel for project management and what it entails, especially if you happen to find an internship program that allows you to use your creativity, initiative and ability to guide others.

Why Should an Internship Interest You?

Just as a student studying Education needs experience in teaching, business students need internships offered by businesses. However, future employers also look for graduates with some professional experience out of the classroom. They look for candidates that take initiative and do more than just the coursework necessary to get their degree – and a project management internship could give you this experience.

Where to Find this Type of Internship

While many businesses offer specific internship programs, many of these don’t deal with project management, as this can be a delicate and complicated process. If project management is your aim, then you could look for this type of internship in the non-profit sector. It is easier to find a non-profit with internship positions for students that pertain to getting a certain project or process completed.

Once you do find the right project management internship program, then you want to follow these 5 tips for best performance:

#1 – Understand the Details

If you take on an internship offered with the sole purpose of completing a certain project, be sure you understand what the project goal is and the company’s expectation is.  Ask all the questions you need in order to understand the expectations of the project sponsor and what defines project success. This will allow you and the team to develop the plan and to verify the goals.

Identify the project success criteria, how each of the tasks will be accomplished and tracked, and the time frame for when these will be achieved. This is part of the Planning phase of a project.

#2- Identify Team Responsibilities Early On

Once you have a plan you can determine what you and the team are responsible for. Whatever your project is, remember that this is not an individual study. A project team is a working unit, sharing one goal, but each member has its own responsibilities. If you take on the role of project manager, you need to identify the skills and talents of each individual team member and put those skills to work (much like your sports team coach does).

#3 – Identify the Project Milestones

With the help of your team members, you should identify the project milestones. Remember that each project has four phases; initiation, planning, execution and closure. Evaluate the process of the project against these phases and place time limitations on each of these.

#4 – Project Communication

One of the most critical parts of project management is to communicate regularly with stakeholders like management and team members. Keep everyone informed of the process and keep communications open, honest and as concise as possible.

#5 – Test the End Result

Before delivering the end results you should review, and if possible, test the results to make sure they are correct and according to expectations before delivering the finished product.

Conclusion

Many students are apprehensive about entering an internship program, and some even more so when it has to do with project management. So it’s important to realize that any company that gives you an internship position and project to manage, won’t give you any project that they don’t feel you are completely capable of handling.

As an intern you won’t receive a critical business project to work on. Even so, any project offered to you offers you a great opportunity to gain experience in the field. It offers you the opportunity to learn how project management teams really work and what is expected of you.

About the author: Jennifer Moore, an experienced business and tech writer, once worked on many training-team business projects for large corporations such as General Motors, John Deere and Trico. She frequently contributes to Degree Jungle, a research resource for college students and young professionals.

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