One of the most important relationships you’ll have during an internship is the one between you and the person you report to directly – the advisor, supervisor or mentor. This person plays a large role in determining your future within that organization, and also in helping guide your career path. While there is no clear method to guarantee success with an advisor, the following tips helped me develop a good rapport:
1. Before starting your internship at the organization, set up an informational interview with your supervisor. Find out more about their career track – how they got to their current position. What are some of their hobbies? How do they view success? These answers will help give you a better idea of your supervisor’s personality, and how to best work with them.
2. Next, address your objectives for the internship, and ask your supervisor for their goals and objectives. By taking the time to identify goals that both of you anticipate for the internship, you’ll more easily set up a structure with which to base improvements and feedback.
3. Check-in regularly with your supervisor. Whether you hold weekly phone calls, head out for coffee monthly, or just stop by each other’s cubicles to chat, ensure that you and your supervisor are taking the time to verbally communicate. Sure, instant messages and emails help, but actually talking provides a better idea of what each person is feeling, and serves to strengthen the relationship. Make sure to mention the objectives and progress that has been made or assistance that you may need.
4. See if there are any industry events you can attend together. I’ve found this is a great way to better understand your organization when you can hear your supervisor explain what the company does. You will also get the opportunity to meet more people while expanding your professional network, and you may even impress your supervisor with your networking skills.
5. After the internship ends, keep in touch with your supervisor. Ask if they’ll write a recommendation for you, and keep them in frequent communication as your career progresses. I cannot tell you how beneficial communicating with previous supervisors has been for me, whether receiving some fun tech tips, or being offered a spot on a panel for a speaking engagement. There is definitely value in keeping in touch with your supervisors – and trust me, they want to hear all about your success as well.
When it comes to building a strong relationship with an internship supervisor, these are my quick 5 tips. What else have you found contributes to a strong intern / supervisor relationship?
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