An internship is an excellent opportunity to try out a career field, build skills, and potentially become employed at a company full-time after graduation. Internship curbs the effect of unemployment ravaging the country. Many are gainfully engaged today not because of the lectures learn but from skills acquired during the internship. While some will be very lucky to get a good supervisor that will be willing to teach them, some might be unlucky but, here are tips to make the most out of your internship:
Set clear goals
In any job, it’s essential to know what is expected of you, and internship won’t be any different. It is always a good idea to meet with your supervisor at the beginning of the internship to find out what their expectations are for you. By setting specific goals with your employer, you will gain structure and meaning for your internship while also avoiding unnecessary conflict. Also keep in mind what your own goals are for your internship and what you will like to learn. Discuss your interests with your supervisor and ask if there are opportunities to get involved in those areas.
Take notes during all meetings and keep to-do lists of tasks and deadlines. Keep your workspace neat, organize your work out of the way when you are not around. Take care to observe data storage processes; if your organization keeps files in central locations, take note and maintain records under the policy.
Whenever given a task, always follow through. If you feel you can’t deliver on time, communicate back to your supervisor. Explain why and what your next steps will be. Learning how to prioritize and delegate shared responsibilities can help avoid situations where you may underdeliver. Over time, by completing your assigned and accepted tasks, you will steadily gain a reputation for being dependable.
Own mistakes and fix them
During the internship, you may make mistakes, and that is ok. Making mistakes is part of the learning curve. The key is to accept responsibility when things do not go as planned. Taking ownership and articulating possible solutions will result in faster resolution and enable others to see you as a leader.
Be mindful of how you present yourself to your co-workers and supervisor. Know the appropriate attire for your workplace; the email etiquette for the person you are addressing. Having a concern or an issue and not confidence how to handle it, who is the most appropriate person to talk to. Do not forget the basics of common courtesy – be punctual, be discipline, say thank you, follow up and follow through.
Identify a mentor
A mentor is someone who can guide you through your internship and be a bridge to professional networks and learning opportunities. They may not give you a complete roadmap to success, can serve as a trusted source of feedback and information. In some internship settings, you will be assigned a mentor. In others, you may have to identify one for yourself. Select someone whom you admire and have the skills and traits you want to develop.
Pursue growth opportunities
The first few days and weeks of your internship may include onboarding sessions and training. Take advantage of any training time offered to ask questions and learn new skills. If there is no formal training, find new sources of information on your own. An opportunity to understand how an organization works inside and out.
Keep track of your projects.
Keep a list of all the projects so that you can discuss your progress with your supervisor. It will also help you remember everything you have worked on to update your resume, add to a portfolio, or talk about it in a future interview. Ask if you can keep samples of projects you have worked on as a portfolio. Remember that some of this information will be confidential, so always get approval before taking any copy of the work with you.
Stay in touch
Introduce yourself to everyone in your department. If the company and work you have done are of interest to you, try to establish contact with each person and get a sense of what they do. You never know when someone else in the company is doing something that might interest you. You may not want to work for the company for the long term, but you will possibly want to get a recommendation from them. The better job you do and the more familiar your supervisor and other employees are with your personality and work, the better commendation you get.
As your internship ends, send personalized thank you notes or emails to the people you have worked with.
“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy”Jacques Maritan.
Mention projects you worked on together, express your gratitude for any guidance they provided, and give them your personal contact information.
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