Starting an internship is exciting! You get to test-drive a career and have fun along the way with new friends and potential mentors. Nowadays internships have become a must for college students. They can help you build your professional network and secure a job once you graduate. Therefore it’s important to use that opportunity wisely and make the best of it.
Here are some tips to make the most out of your internship.
- Network, network, network: Don’t be afraid to ask people out for coffee or lunch. It’s one of the best ways to learn valuable information about the industry that you want to work in without the pressure of being in the physical workplace. I know it can be intimidating because you’re only an intern and it seems like they will have no gain in talking to you but you might be surprised that most of them will be flattered that you have asked. It’s a good way for them to show their expertise and teach you along the way. And remember that at worst all they can say is no.
- Be proactive: Don’t wait on your supervisor to give you new assignments, use your down time to show initiative by taking on a new project. Volunteer to take on more work without being asked. It sends a good message to your supervisors and shows them that you are dedicated to doing good work. That will not only be appreciated but it will get you noticed.
- Ask questions: There’s always something to learn during your internship. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand a project make sure to tell your supervisor. It’s always best to be open and honest. At the end of the day, you are an intern and are here to learn. Plus, they’ll see that you’re serious about the work.
- Build a portfolio of the work that you have been doing: During your internship, you will take on a lot of projects. Make sure to document them so you can use them later as reference. They are great building blocks for your resume. For example, I contributed to a financial project in which I analyzed the strategies used by Walmart. I then used that project as an accomplishment on my resume and have gotten great feedback from recruiters because of it. Leveraging your past accomplishments is a great way to boost up your resume.
- Keep in touch even after your internship ends: Send your old supervisor an email asking them how they are, ask about how the company is now doing. These are some of the things that you can do to maintain the relationship. These people are a valuable addition to your professional network. They are the ones that you can use as reference when applying for a position. They are important to have in your network.
- Develop new skills: Take a moment to sit down and write down the goals that you want to accomplish by the end of your internship and make sure that you are following them. Use the free seminars and workshops that your company is providing to hone a new skill.
Internships are a great way to make new friends, develop your skills and expand your professional network. It is important to make great use of that opportunity by following these simple steps.
Christy Joseph, Writer, Shortstints