Internships can be daunting, difficult and downright scary. Whether you’re filing papers, getting coffee, or sitting in on meetings with CEOs, there will always be room for improvement. Here are 6 ways to make the best of this golden opportunity.
1.Treat this like a real job
If you want to be taken seriously, then you have to take this internship seriously. You need to remember that your work will have an impact on the organization. Show your employers that you are enthusiastic and motivated to work for them.
Show up on time (or early) in the morning, arrive for meetings before they begin, and complete tasks by their deadlines. This will include dressing well. If you’re dressed like you are going to class then you are indicating that you don’t take this job seriously.
Observe how others in the office act, and mirror that. Figure the norms out and follow them. These details may sound trivial, but they’ll help you stand out from other interns.
2.Do everything and then some
Accept assignments without complaint, ask for more work when assignments are completed, and turn out good quality work. Listen carefully to instructions and ask for clarification. Take the time to do a good job. Show that you pay attention to detail by following instructions and care about quality.
Give everything you do at this internship your 101% and nothing less. Whether an assignment is mundane or exotic, pursue it with relentless drive and a determination to exceed. Even though you are only an intern, your work will still have some form of an impact on the company, so make sure it’s good.
If you receive timely feedback from your supervisor, heed it. If it doesn’t come readily pursue it! There’s no harm in asking your boss how you’re doing, what you could to do to improve, and such like. The purpose of this internship is to learn and achieve as much as you can.
Asking for feedback not only helps you improve your work, but you’ll show you’re thoughtful and eager to progress in your field. It will also allow you to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can get working on them before you leave.
4.Stay off Snapchat, Twitter, FB, Instagram, Whatsapp…
Don’t use social networking sites or text with friends throughout the workday. Unless your work actually involves the use of social media, stay off it and focus on your work. You are there to learn and get valuable experience, so make the most of the time you have and devote it to doing new things and developing your skills.
If you find that your work is done, and you have nothing to do ask for more work or look to read company literature and/or professional journals. Sitting at the desk checking your most recent Twitter feed while you wait for someone to give you something to do is one of the best ways to not get an invite back.
Remember, your social media accounts are not going away but your opportunities to learn and grow are slipping away while you’re posting status updates.
5.Make friends and keep in touch
Since you will be treating this like a permanent job you will want to make some time to get to know your colleagues and bosses. Take the initiative to introduce yourself and exhibit a positive and friendly attitude to everyone you meet, from the janitor to the CEO. Try to have contact with each person and get a sense of what they do.
Continue the relationships you’ve built after the internship ends. You can stay connected to your new friends on social sites or email.
If you’re offered a job, you’ll be better equipped to thrive from the get-go. If you’re not, your contacts could help you get your feet through the door at another company, keep you informed of industry developments, give you a glowing reference…the list goes on.
6.Say Thank You!
At the end of the internship, don’t forget to thank all the people you worked with and the people who helped you throughout the internship. We all love the occasional expression of appreciation, so don’t be shy about offering it. Let them know how much you appreciated the opportunity to work and learn from them – it gives everyone a good feeling and manners really cost nothing.
Your internship is the last step between being a student and an employed professional. Internships are hard work. And doing only what’s expected of you isn’t enough to be noticed. You need to go above and beyond and make the most of your time in the organization. Use these 6 tips to help you make the most of this amazing opportunity.
Do you have any personal tips to add to the list? Share them with us in the comments section below.