The internship experience is one filled with endless possibilities — you can learn more about a company, its culture, and the type of work you'd like to do in the future; you can test out different job positions; and you can even pull ahead of your fellow students by building your resume with valuable relevant experience.
Here are 10 tips to help make the most out of your internship experience.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are making the most out of your internship is to set goals. You should set a goal or make a bucket list of activities or experiences that you would like to have during your time as an intern. One mistake that many people make is not having a plan for their time as an intern, so they may get lost in the day-to-day routine and lose sight of their larger purpose. When this happens, it's easy for an internship experience to feel dull, unfulfilling and meaningless.
By setting your goals and ensuring that you don't allow yourself to become complacent or too comfortable. It also keeps you focused and motivated throughout the experience.
Get out of your comfort zone
Internship is the best time for you to try something new, especially since you have a built-in safety net: your internship supervisor. For instance, maybe you’ve been thinking about trying something that you have not done before, such as writing copy or creating infographics (if you work in marketing), or taking over social media accounts (if you work in communications).
Set yourself apart by getting involved with all activities going on at the company, not just those associated with your department. This will help you develop your personal brand and build relationships with coworkers across departments and levels within the organisation.
Pay attention to what others are doing
It's easy to get caught up in your own little world and only focus on what needs to be done for your manager, but there's so much more going on all around you. How does marketing work with sales? How does the company handle customer service?
You should pay attention to what others are doing to learn more about each aspect of the company's business. If possible, sit in on meetings when others present their work. Take notes and ask your boss or colleagues questions to understand about their work deeper. Being aware of these things can open your eyes to other opportunities within the company. You may even find that there's another department or team that sounds more interesting than the one you're in right now.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
One of the best things you can do is to be curious and ask questions. It’s important to ask questions at work, especially when you’re an intern and you don't want to look like you have no idea what you're doing. Also, feel free to speak up in meetings and ask for clarification if something is unclear.
People will appreciate your willingness to learn and understand things. And it’s better than stalling on work for hours because you don’t know how to do something or feeling lost during a meeting because everyone is talking about concepts that are new to you.
While some interns are happy to just get by with the bare minimum, you don’t want to be that intern. We’re not saying you have to work 24/7 or that you have to do things that aren’t in your job description, but there are ways to add value beyond what is expected of you.
One way to add value is to look out for opportunities to share your skills, talents and interests. For example, if you’re really into design, offer to make flyers or posters for events. If you’re interested in copywriting, see if the company needs help with social media posting or writing blogs. If you don’t have much work to do on a given day, volunteer for tasks that need doing or ask how else you can be of service. Who knows — maybe your colleagues will remember your name when there's an opening for a full-time position in the future!
Keep a record of your accomplishments
It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks, but it's important to remember what you've achieved along the way! (And sometimes those achievements are some of the littlest things.) So when you do something great — whether that's handling a customer service issue or organising a new filing system — make note of it! Then, at the end of your internship, you'll have a list of accomplishments that can help you prepare for future interviews or other major professional milestones.
Ask for feedback
The best thing you can do for your internship (or career) is to be open to constructive criticism. The only way you can get better at what you do is by identifying areas for improvement and changing your behaviour accordingly. It's not enough to ask about the good aspects of your work—you should dig a little deeper and ask about the bad aspects, too. If something goes wrong at work, it's helpful to know right away so that you can fix it as soon as possible, and make necessary changes to improve your performance in the future.
An internship is a great way to build your network and make connections that can steer you in the right direction for your career. When you start a new position, it’s normal to feel like you don’t know anyone. One way to start networking with your colleagues is to offer help. You can learn from helping others and it makes you more approachable for them in return. Whether it's helping someone find information or offering advice on how to complete a task, you'll become more visible within the company and make a good impression on your colleagues while also helping your team succeed!
You can also ask your colleagues questions about themselves: What are their interests outside of work? What was their career path? How was their internship like? Most of them have been where you are before, and are willing to share their knowledge and advice with someone who shows enthusiasm for their field.
What you have here are 8 strategies for making the most out of your internship. At the end of the day, an internship remains just that: a stepping stone. While it is important to go into your internship knowing what you would like out of it, you should also remain open to opportunities that might come along. Ultimately, the best thing you can do is keep an open mind and take full advantage of every opportunity that comes along the way.
Well, are you ready? Hop on to Kabel here to look for your internship or other opportunities.