An internship can be one of your college career’s most exciting and intimidating experiences. It’s a chance to get real-world experience and make connections in your field of study, but it can also be daunting to leave the safety of the classroom and enter the unknown.
Whether you’re a seasoned intern or just getting started, you’ll find valuable advice here to help you take your internship to the next level.
1) Research the company you’ll be interning for
Researching the company you’ll be interning for is one of the essential steps in preparing for an internship. Knowing the organisation’s history, values, mission statement, and current projects can help you better understand the goals of your training and how you can best contribute.
Researching the company will also give you an idea of the work culture and the opportunities that may exist after your internship. Use online resources such as LinkedIn, the company’s website, and other news outlets to learn more about the company. Be sure to attend any information sessions or open houses available.
2) Set up a meeting with your supervisor
Set up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss expectations, responsibilities, and any other questions or concerns you may have about the internship. Depending on the circumstances, this can be done in person or through a video call. Taking the initiative to arrange a meeting with your supervisor shows them that you are taking the internship seriously and are interested in learning as much as possible during your time there.
3) Get to know your co-workers.
Getting to know your co-workers is essential to settling into a new internship. Connect with people in the organisation who have similar interests, ask questions about their work and hobbies, and find ways to help each other during the internship.
Having good relationships with your colleagues will make your experience much more enjoyable and provide valuable connections that can be useful when searching for a job after the internship.
4) Dress for success
When it comes to your internship, you want to ensure that you look presentable and professional. You should dress according to the company culture while ensuring you don’t look overly casual.
Consider wearing a suit or something more formal on your first day, and then adjust based on what your supervisor and co-workers are wearing. This will show respect for the company and make a good impression.
5) Be punctual
You must arrive at your internship on time and be punctual for any meetings or events you must attend. Your supervisor will appreciate you being reliable and showing up when expected.
Plan ahead for unexpected circumstances like traffic or public transportation delays. Arriving early rather than late will make a great impression and help ensure you start your internship on the right foot.
6) Take initiative
Taking the initiative is a crucial element of a successful internship. If you see something that needs to be done or can be improved upon, don’t be afraid to take the lead. Showing your supervisor that you are willing to take the initiative and get the job done will go a long way towards making a positive impression.
Having the confidence to take on new challenges and find solutions will demonstrate your leadership skills, which are always an asset in any work setting.
7) Don’t be afraid to ask questions
As an intern, you must feel comfortable in your new environment. It can be intimidating to ask questions of your supervisors or co-workers, but it is necessary to understand the expectations of your role and how to do your job well.
Be bold and ask questions if you need help understanding something or need further clarification; chances are your colleagues will appreciate your initiative and are more than willing to answer your questions. Asking questions also helps you better understand the industry and your job responsibilities.
8) Keep a positive attitude
Your internship is an opportunity to learn and grow, so staying positive throughout your experience is essential. No matter the task, approaching it with a positive attitude will make all the difference in the outcome.
Doing so will help foster healthy relationships with your colleagues, encourage greater collaboration, and demonstrate a commitment to your best work. A positive attitude will also help you stay motivated and energised, even in challenging situations.
9) Offer to help
One of the best ways to make a good impression as an intern is to offer to help. Showing your willingness to assist others and take the initiative can go a long way towards impressing your supervisor and co-workers.
When you make yourself available, you will be appreciated for your effort and be rewarded with more exciting tasks and responsibilities. Be sure to listen carefully to instructions and ask questions if you need help completing a task. Offering to help is one of the best ways to demonstrate your worth to your team and gain valuable experience.
10) Document your experience
Documenting your internship experience by keeping a log of your daily activities and any new skills you have acquired is essential. This will help you track your progress, reflect on your accomplishments, and provide valuable material for your portfolio.
Additionally, taking photos or videos can help make a scrapbook of your internship time and provide visual evidence of your experience. Lastly, writing a blog or keeping a journal is a great way to record your thoughts and experiences while working.
11) Reflect on your experience
At the end of your internship, take a moment to reflect on your experience. Think about what you learned, how you grew, and the connections you made. Writing down your thoughts can help you process the experience and recognise all the hard work you put in.
Celebrate your successes and be proud of yourself for your achievements. Remember, this is just the beginning of your professional journey, and you have all the tools necessary to succeed.
12) Stay in touch with your contacts
One of the most important things to do after your internship is to stay in touch with the people you have worked with. It’s a great way to build professional relationships and keep up with industry news and trends. Take the time to send a thank-you note or follow-up email to your supervisor and co-workers, stay connected on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, and attend networking events in your field.
Keeping in touch with the contacts you made during your internship will ensure that you stay on top of opportunities and resources that come in handy for future job searches.
13) Give yourself credit
It is important to remember that you are gaining valuable experience and knowledge through your internship. Remember to consider your work and the value of your contribution to the team. Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, and take pride in your hard work.
Believe in yourself and your capabilities, and remember that you are capable of more than you think! Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; it’s a natural part of learning and growing as an intern. As long as you learn from your mistakes, it will ultimately help you become a better employee.
Networking is also crucial during your internship, especially if you want to work for that company full-time after graduation. Making contacts within the company can help you open doors down the line and make it easier to find a job post-graduation.
14) Use your internship as a stepping stone
Your internship is an invaluable opportunity to gain insight into the professional world and hone your skills. It’s a great way to get a foot in the door with potential employers and start building your network.
Make sure you take advantage of every learning opportunity, ask questions, and be open to feedback. Doing this will allow you to use your internship experience as a launching pad for future career successes.
15) Prepare for your next internship
As you approach the end of your internship, take some time to reflect on your experience and consider how you can best prepare for your next training. Think about what you have learned, what skills you have acquired, and how you can use them to make a positive impact in your next internship. Make sure to keep a record of your achievements and experiences so that you can refer to them when applying for future opportunities.
Additionally, reach out to the contacts you’ve made during your internship for advice and tips. Finally, use this time to update your resume and cover letter, highlight your achievements, and create a portfolio of your work. With the proper preparation, your next internship will be even more successful.