As students advance through their human resources degree program, they’ll often be required to seek out a human resources internship that helps to turn their classroom theory into practical experience. This internship will help to inform their professional behaviors in the workplace immediately after graduation, and it can help define how broad the student’s career options are once they obtain their degree. The key, then, is to make the most of this brief internship experience and leverage it for the greatest amount of job-seeking power possible. This is something that tends to elude those who are new to professional experiences and internships, but it’s actually quite easy to maximize this span of time and turn it into a tool for better opportunities in the future.

Start By Asking for Advice and Inside Expertise from a Supervisor

Most interns work in a group, with other interns who come from their universities or other schools nearby. They generally report to a group supervisor, with opportunities to meet the company’s leadership through various at-work experiences during their internship period. This is a great time to ask an immediate supervisor, or even the company’s top leadership, for career advice and insight into the human resources profession. What does it take to keep the organization competitive?

How should specific employee issues be handled? What happens when federal laws change the way human resources professionals have to go about their jobs? By showing interest and gaining new insight, interns could further their changes of employment with the company or at least gain valuable insight for a future job interview.

Don’t Say No to Special, Outside-of-Work Experiences with the Company

One of the great things about being an intern is going along to all kinds of special meetings, events, conventions, or happy hour get-togethers with co-workers. As a rule, these events should never be turned down. Sure, interns are invited under the guise of their attendance being optional. The truth, though, is that those who attend are likely to develop stronger professional relationships, meet new people within the industry, and advance their name in a competitive job market. Furthermore, these experiences are enriching and exciting. They’re nothing like what happens on campus, and they offer a new way to see the world both personally and as a fledgling HR professional.

Do Ask for a Professional Reference as the Internship Draws to a Close

Internships are a time to gain professional experiences and, at the same time, develop references that will help students land their first position in the industry. An intern who has worked hard, asked questions, and gone the extra mile after work hours, will be primed for an excellent letter of recommendation from a supervisor that may make the difference between merely applying for a job and actually landing it. Remember, the competition for HR jobs is quite stiff. A great letter of recommendation from a top corporation’s HR department is persuasive, authoritative and a make-or-break part of job-hunting.

Get Ready to Maximize the Potential of a Human Resources Internship

An internship with a large HR department is full of opportunities for today’s students. Whether it’s the chance to see how human resources works, the ability to ask for extra insight into the field, or the ability to attend special events after work, those who wish to maximize the effectiveness of their human resources internship should take initiative and be ready for that effort to pay dividends as they start a career.