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How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

You did it! You applied, you interviewed – you may have even auditioned – and you’ve landed a summer internship. Good for you.

Now that you’re about to start (or have started), it’s important to note that your “landing” of the position is the beginning of a whole new journey: making the most of this opportunity so it propels you into the next phase of your education and career.

Always put your best self forward

You may never see some of the people you work with or meet during your internship ever again. Conversely, you may be surprised by who pops up along your musical road to life in years to come. For that reason, put your best foot, face, and attitude forward no matter what.

That irritating intern working next to you could be the next big producer. The manager you’re currently working under may open her own sound studio someday, and the entourage traveling with the star musicians may be successful or famous in their own right in a few years. By remaining positive, working hard, and always putting your best self forward, you’ll be remembered with respect – which could get you a much sought-after interview, or at least some high-quality references when you need them.

Assert yourself

Some employers are well-prepared for interns, others enjoy the idea of low-paid workers but loathe the time and energy required to train them. If you sense you’re in the latter category, pay close attention and be observant to learn more about the work habits, expectations, and protocols at your new workplace.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, request a daily/weekly projects or job list that allows you to work independently for longer periods. See if there are any materials, training manuals, or other resources that will teach you what you need to know – or what needs to be done – without being intrusive. Otherwise, assert yourself – be a squeaky wheel for a bit - and take good notes, so you don’t have to repeat your questions.

Hone your conversation skills

Are you more introverted by nature, or uncomfortable talking to strangers? Your internship provides a ripe opportunity to work on “real world” conversation skills, helping you get to know and understand fellow interns and staff better. Read our article, 5 Tips For Easy Conversation…,” to brush up and glean ideas.

Then, use your skills to learn as much as you can about the people/positions you admire most. What’s their story? How did they get where they are now? What would they do differently? Use this opportunity to glean ideas from mentors, ideas that will shape how you move forward in your own musical journey.

Be professional

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be professional. If you are the only intern, this is easier to do. If you are in a pack, you may feel pulled by the culture of your intern group, and this isn’t always a good thing if they’re laissez-faire about their job. You should always be professional in terms of:

  • Dress
  • Punctuality
  • Language
  • Protocol
  • Common courtesy (please, thank you, excuse me)
  • Follow up and follow through with your work and the tasks you’ve been assigned

If you’re the most professional one in the group, you’re on the right track.

Keep yourself busy

Waiting to be told what to do can appear as “laziness,” or lack of motivation to those in charge. Taking initiation is a valuable quality, and it’s a sign of your capability and work ethics. If you’ve run out of things to do, it’s time to chat with the supervisor and check-in. If s/he doesn’t have a list of tasks ready for you, ask who you should consult next.

Look around and see where you might be of assistance. Volunteer to take on jobs you can see need doing or automatically pitch in to help where and when needed.  Don’t ever say that (or act like) certain tasks are beneath you or “aren’t your job.” Everyone has to do grunt work at one time or another, and being willing to do “the small stuff” could be exactly how you wind up with a job offer or strong recommendations.

Make the most of your summer music internship by being the best professional self you can be. Your enthusiasm, positivity, professionalism, and work ethic will be appreciated and noted by those who matter.

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