How to Juggle Multiple Internships

Fri, Jun 1, 2012

Internship Information

If you listen to career counselors, interning while in your second half of college is the key to maximizing your chances of success in today’s job market. Unemployment rates are still elevated, which means many highly-qualified applicants battling over the same jobs. Even entry-level positions are hotly contested. Nailing an internship at a reputable company will give you some important real world experience, add to the luster of your resume, and hopefully give you a personal recommendation that could sway a hiring manager to choose you over some other applicants. But if you have the flexibility, will and desire, you might want to consider taking on more than one internship at a time. It’s a great way to help you choose between a couple of different fields you are drawn to, while also proving to a potential future employer that you are no stranger to hard work, and excel under difficult circumstances. That being said, if you’re not careful it could turn into a real disaster. You’ll need to be an expert juggler to handle more than one internship at a time, and here’s a look at a couple of ways you can help insure you get through to the other side unscathed.

Clear and constant communication will be the key to success, regardless of the internship or industry. Multiple internships mean you’ll have several bosses, and potentially dozens of coworkers that you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis. Miscommunications with this many people involved can destroy projects and end your internship before it’s even really begun. The best thing you can do is help make sure that everyone is on the same page. Don’t be afraid of too much communication; your supervisor will surely tell you if you’re going overboard. But sometimes something as simple as emailing your supervisor when an assigned project is complete can help alleviate potential confusion and land you that glowing recommendation. Communication is doubly important when you have more than one internship. With so much to keep track of, you won’t have to worry about who knows what.

Your next task will be to document absolutely everything you do. This goes hand in hand with communication, as it keeps everything clear, and makes future communications easier. Every time you start a new project, write down your process and the results that it caused. You’ll have data on hand to help refine your future approach, while giving the company a how-to guide they can use to train future interns. Proving you keep one eye on the future, they may even come back and hire you full time once you complete school. Most of your projects can easily be documented with a spreadsheet or word processing file, but check out some project management software if you need something sturdier.

Finally, you must learn to prioritize, or you’ll never be able to handle multiple internships. Each one of your supervisors will consider their tasks and company to be the most important, and each one will want your full attention. So how do you fulfill these clashing priorities? You’ll need to raise your game when it comes to prioritizing tasks. Set a schedule for your day based on level of importance, and be diligent about the amount of time you spend on something that’s not pressing. This prioritization will regrettably overflow into your personal life, as you’ll have to give up some downtime to make it all work. But it will pay off when you enter the job market, without the need to study for the certificate IV in training and assessment. Your results will speak for themselves.

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