There are few experiences in a student’s life that are as exciting as getting your first internship.
These placements allow you to learn about your chosen industry from the ground up. Furthermore, interns are often assigned to help out in various departments, meaning that you’ll likely get to experience all aspects of a business rather than just one sector. As an intern, you’ll expand your skill set, gain professional experience, and create a strong network of peers and mentors.
However, the most important advantage is the chance to decide if this profession is right for you. Think of your internship as a dress rehearsal for your future career. At the moment, you’re waiting in the wings, but this is a chance to step into the spotlight and work in a crucial role that could lead to an incredible career.
Take a look at our five top tips to help you egg-cel in your internship!
1. Rock your research
Research does not begin and end at the school library – it’s an invaluable skill in any industry. Before you start your internship, research the history, mission statement, and culture of your new workplace. Understanding the core aims, values, and purpose of your company or organization will be invaluable to you. For instance, you’ll feel more comfortable in your office if you know a little something about the business before you start. Additionally, the fact that you cared enough to do your research about the company will immediately demonstrate to your supervisor that you’re determined and have a strong willingness to learn and grow in your role.
2. Make a strong first impression
Remember how your mom always told you to be yourself? (Or at least a polite, hard working version of yourself?). The same advice applies at your internship! Remember, you were hired for a reason, and your employer obviously thought that you were the right person for the job in the interview stage. To make a good first impression, be friendly and courteous as you introduce yourself to your supervisors and co-workers, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. One of the biggest benefits of an internship is building a network of people to work with and learn from, so begin making connections right off the bat.
3. Be willing to lend a hand
Let your supervisors and co-workers know that you’re available to help with any extra tasks that may arise, even if they aren’t in your normal responsibilities. Your enthusiasm to learn more about your industry will impress your supervisors, and could lead to exciting projects that could build your portfolio and skillset. Remember, your supervisor isn’t a mind reader – if you’re up-front about your desire to learn and try new things, then more opportunities will come your way.
4. Set goals for yourself
The best way to get the most of your internship experience is to create a set of personal goals that you want to accomplish during your time with the company. Write a daily journal to track your progress and stay conscious of how you are progressing towards your goals. Also, make time to talk to your supervisor about your aspirations at the beginning of your internship and discuss the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. You may not initially reach all of them, but working towards them is a learning experience and an accomplishment of its own. Furthermore, this is a good way to keep yourself accountable for your own work, and to ensure that you’re maximizing each day in the office. At the end of it all, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you are gaining valuable skills in your internship, and goal-setting will make you conscious of your development.
5. Ask for feedback
As your internship progresses, ask your supervisor to give you a performance evaluation. An integral part of this process is learning about your professional strengths and weaknesses and how to improve your abilities, so be prepared for constructive criticism. While positive reinforcement is nice to hear, be open to your supervisor’s suggestions for improvement. If you are able to put your slightly bruised ego aside, constructive criticism will teach you more than praise ever can and will develop your skills. The ability to truly listen to criticism and learn from it will not only develop your professional abilities, but your character.
When you start your internship, keep these ideas in mind as you strive towards success in a new professional environment. Most importantly, allow yourself to enjoy every moment of this opportunity – if you possess a genuine love for your work, your passion will set the stage for your success.