Luis Linares



Florida International University 2013, Master of Public Administration
Caracas, Venezuela
Summer 2012

Interning at Knight Foundation in the summer of 2012 became one of the most important steps I could make in my career. Just a month after my internship, I was hired to continue my work with the community-focused grantmaking team.

Whether you’re interested in pursuing a future career with your internship host or simply looking to get the skills, here are a few tips about how to maximize the value of an internship:

Develop skills and gain professional experiences

After learning to use Knights’ grants management software, I became well-versed in how to look up and extract critical information. This allowed me to easily navigate the sometimes difficult to use database and help colleagues identify where grants were in the approval process. Along with this systems training, the highly motivated and hardworking office atmosphere is always energizing and engaging. This program encourages interns to be a part of strategic meetings and provide feedback on projects.

Build relationships outside your department

In the age of LinkedIn, everyone knows that the key to future employment is to network. More than greeting each other in the breakroom, I’d encourage you to find time to ask colleagues what brought them into the field. Chances are they’ll ask you the same and know someone who knows someone. For example, before my internship I had spent some time working with disaster preparedness and relief organizations, and by sharing this passion with co-workers, I was able to access leaders at the local United Way and Red Cross. Knight has many talented individuals with knowledge and experience from a variety of fields. Interns are encouraged to connect with staff that can provide career advice. In my summer group, we set up interviews with program directors to find out about additional opportunities outside of the Foundation.

Focus on impact

It is important to show your value and to have meaningful results. Initiating assignments and seeking additional projects are two ways to achieve these outcomes. By the end of the internship, you should have a lengthy list of personal achievements. Leaving a trail of good work and successes can help with future employment opportunities. Even though my career ambitions are in a different field, I was able to take one step closer to my goals through this internship by developing useful skills, building a network and showing results. These three insights are just a few of the great things about interning at Knight. I am grateful for this opportunity and for the staff that has supported me along the way. I highly recommend this internship to students and recent grads looking for a fulfilling and engaging experience. “