A View from the Top: How do I maximize my learning in my internship? Part 1.


Congratulations – you have nailed an internship. This is an important milestone in your professional career timeline. Internships teach you the ins and outs of how organization’s really operate on a day to day basis, and provide you valuable insight into what it would look like to work in a specific field, or for a specific type of organization. Your goal now should be to learn everything you can from the internship.

Two areas cut across all types of internships. Understanding department/functional software and building relationships across multiple departments. Understanding departmental/functional software is key. We’ll focus on technology in this blog, and visit how to build cross departmental relationship in our next blog.

Employers know that today’s students are facile with browser technology and using social media. But, if you skim any job placements you’ll quickly see that employers are looking for much more when it comes to technology.

For example, if you plan to work in HR after graduation you should seek out opportunities to get under the engine of whatever HRIS system is in use at the company. Look at their Learning Management System. Take a peek at PeopleSoft. Ask if you can use any of your downtime to speak with the individuals who create and manage the software programs that are key to your organization. Volunteer to use the software to run data reports. Watch any tutorials that are available, or schedule time with the go to person in the department for technology (note, there always is such a person.) Don’t let your internship expire without adding key technology related skills to your resume.

I once interviewed a candidate for an entry level HR position who had completed an internship in HR but never touched any of the software that the company used. We passed.

When should you start seeking out opportunities to build your technology skills? I suggest you start on Day 1. Your active supervisor will meet with you soon after you start your role. At that time mention your interest in learning more about the packages and ask if you can set up a meeting with him or her at a later time to discuss how you can jointly create a plan.

You are encouraged to send questions directly to me at e.walker@bentley.edu or to visit me at 310 Adamian. Or simply bookmark this blog which will occur on a regular basis. In our next blog we’ll discuss how to build your skills in managing relationships during an internship.

By Elaine Walker
Elaine Walker Lecturer Elaine Walker