Why I'm in the 12th Week of My 10-Week Internship

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Michael Girts Michael Girts
When I began my internship at Leo Burnett this June, I heard an awful lot about all the perks. The free food, the free beer. The free baseball games, the free theater. Everyone kept talking about the freebies. It certainly made the world of advertising seem like a glamorous place to be.

As I write this, I'm 12 weeks into the 10-week internship. In other words, they've asked me to stick around. I'm thrilled about it. I've worked hard all summer long. I like the people I'm working with, and I'm interested in the work I'm doing.

Some of the interns have received tentative offers, and some of the interns have moved on. I've talked to those that are still here about their summer experience. Specifically, I've asked them why they think they were asked to stay.

The answers are surprisingly consistent. The interns who have managed to transition their internships into full-time offers have consistently added value to their teams. They have actively sought additional work. By asking their supervisors where they can help--and by performing high-level work to help fill those gaps--they effectively make it difficult for the company to let them go.

Early in my internship, I asked my supervisor if I could take a shot at writing a case study for an upcoming new business pitch. Rather than wait for someone to teach me the best way to write a case, I asked if I could try it myself and schedule time with her the next day to review and improve the case--or scrap it if need be.

Well, I did it well enough that we used the case, and she asked me to write another. And another. And another and eventually, I was the go-to-guy for new case studies. I was meeting one of the business-development team's real needs. And before the internship was over, I had put myself in a position where it was much easier to keep me on, rather than find some new way to replace me.

The interns that are still around are the same interns that seemed happiest all summer long. For all the talk about the perks and the freebies, it seems that what people really want out of their internship is real responsibility and legitimate work experience. Those people who sought the opportunity for real work--and subsequently seized that opportunity--are the ones who enjoyed their internships the most. They're also the ones who are still here.
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