441 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
ph: (212) 765-7500

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Six Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

1. Set Objectives

You should consider your internship experience as a trial or test run. Like any test, you prepare by knowing what is being tested, except you determine what the parameters are. Before you start your internship, write down what you want to get out of your internship. Establish a few objectives for yourself. You want to find out how a studio works. What is the day in the life of a professional audio engineer like? What does it really take to become an assistant? What knowledge and skills am I deficient in? Am I even cut out for this kind of job?

2. Listen, Watch and Observe with Purpose

When you go about your assigned tasks, pay attention and remain alert. Don’t just “go through the motions.” Be hyper-aware of your surroundings. Take in what goes on in the studio, what “systems” are in place, and for what purpose. Observe the different roles and what people do. Why are things done a certain way? Is there a reason why certain procedures are emphasized over others? How do the tasks that I perform affect the clients?

3. Ask Questions

Ask your supervisors regularly how you are doing and how you can improve. It is a good way to gauge your performance. Asking for feedback (and being open to criticism) is a great way to keep yourself engaged and show others that you care. Of course, you have to heed the feedback you receive.

When you’ve gotten a sense of the daily rhythms of the studio, start asking questions that may have started forming in your mind. You’ll be surprised to know that, in general, the staff likes it when you ask questions. In fact, if you don’t ask questions, we tend to get the impression that you are not interested. Remember to ask questions tactfully, and choose the right time to ask them, e.g. not in front of clients, not when things are hectic, and not during a session.

If you think you need a block of time to find out more in-depth information about a particular subject, ask to make an appointment and take the opportunity to ask them. Be well prepared when you do.

4. Hang Around

When your shift is over or your scheduled hours have been completed, don’t just take off (unless you absolutely have to get to a job). Ask if you could hang around and help out with additional tasks, help another member of the staff (e.g. maintenance, resident engineers, etc.), sit in on practice sessions, go through manuals of a particular piece of equipment or just spend time in an empty room and see if you can identify all the gear and what it does. Ask if you could come in on an off day. The point is you want to take advantage of the limited time you have been given to learn as much as you can while you have access.

5. Review Your Experience

At the end of your internship, there will be an exit interview with your supervisor. This meeting is very important because 1) you can ask for an overall impression of how you performed; and 2) this is your last opportunity to get additional information and/or advice on your career, including getting references for the next step. You need to have given some thought to where you want to go from here, to ask the questions that could really help you down the road.

It is important to do an honest personal post-internship assessment, and take time to reflect on your overall experience. Were you able to fulfill the objectives you set for yourself at the start of the internship? Can you see yourself working in this environment? Would you enjoy it? Is this job right for you? What adjustments do you think you will need to make for continued success?

6. Stay in Touch

Your internship ending does not mean ending your association with the people you had the good fortune to work with, however briefly. Ours is a small industry, and every meeting / introduction is a blessing. You never know which contact might bring your next break or gig. Send word as to how you are doing, and ask how the studio is doing. You professional net worth is directly proportional to the size of your relationship network. To be honest, we’ve had so many interns over the years, many of the names and faces have blurred together. The ones we do remember are those with whom we have kept in touch.

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441 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
ph: (212) 765-7500
fx: (212) 765-7450