The following blog was authored by Aran Coleman, public relations senior at The University of Oklahoma and one of Saxum’s spring 2011 interns.

May is just around the corner, and college students everywhere are trying to land the perfect summer internship. Whether you are a sophomore just starting to dip into the internship pool or a graduating senior ready to enter the workforce, internship experience is something every employer values in a prospective new hire. In many cases, especially in the public relations industry, an internship can serve as a tryout for an actual job.

A recent Oklahoman article explained that students who participate in internships will have a much better chance of securing a job than those who do not. Since entry-level positions are extremely competitive and hard to come by, maintaining an internship is often just as important as finding one. Below are some of the main takeaways and insights from my internship at Saxum on how to make the most of your experience.

Constantly learn
As an intern, the main purpose of your experience is to increase your understanding of the organization and its given industry. Treat every opportunity as a chance to learn something new and make an effort to research more on your own time.

For instance, if you plan on pursuing a career in public relations, keep up with the latest industry news, especially in developing areas like social media. Be curious, and ask questions to further your understanding of what the organization is all about.

Speak up
Finding your voice is extremely important as an intern. You do not want to fly under the radar and miss out on opportunities to showcase what you can offer an organization. Come with opinions that are relevant, and provide a new, unique perspective that the group can appreciate. No one will know what you are capable of unless you put yourself out there.

Take initiative
Anticipating what people need and never sitting idle will truly set you apart from the pack. Any intern can complete a checklist of assignments, but the real all stars go above and beyond by anticipating what needs to be done next. Be enthusiastic about every project. Having the opportunity to do anything, no matter how small, should be something you are grateful for.

Following these tips should help you on your way to turning an internship into a career. And if all else fails, there are always Google Ads.