Internships are an extremely exciting, but can be a very nerve-wracking experience. It’s where you will learn new skills that are essential to your future career. Making a great impression is crucial, but most importantly, ensuring an excellent, hands-on, and knowledge-packed experience is what is most important. So, here are 10 ways you can make the most out of your internship.
1. Try to find an internship that pays
Most internships in college or graduate school are unpaid, which sucks. Usually, internships require many hours and you will find yourself feeling as though you’re working an unpaid full-time job. When I was in my undergrad internship, I had to completely close to 500 hours. My internship was unpaid, and because I was at my internship 8 hours a day Monday-Friday, I only worked one day a week as a server. The money was most definitely not flowing for me at this point, therefore, I, unfortunately, began using credit cards to pay for my car and anything else I needed money for. I am regretting that decision. If you can land an internship that pays, TAKE IT!
2. Punctuality is key
Show up on time. This seems like an obvious tip, but I cannot stress the importance of punctuality. When you show up on time, your supervisor notices, and when your supervisor notices, they realize that you care about your internship. Punctuality also shows that you respect your supervisor and your co-workers.
3. Dress professional
‘Dress for the job you want,’ a quote that has been drilled into my brain by my mother. You want to be taken seriously at your internship, and dressing like a professional will get you there. The simple act of dressing appropriately speaks volumes about you as a person, and about you as a future professional.
Side note: Old Navy has relatively inexpensive, fashion-forward, professional clothes!
4. Don’t wait to be told what to do
If you catch yourself sitting around waiting for instructions from your supervisor, take the initiative on yourself to find out where you are needed. Asking your supervisor what you can do to contribute is an excellent way to show that you are willing to learn and are determined to succeed at your internship.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I ask a lot of questions, and because of that, I tend to feel as though I am a bit of an annoyance. However, the fact of the matter is, asking questions is how I learn. Do not be afraid to ask questions, because you never want to limit your learning, and, asking questions will show that you are interested. However, I have to say that I, personally, do not believe the saying, ‘There are no stupid questions.’ Yes, there are. So, if you have a question that you can easily find the answer to by googling or researching, do that first before asking.
6. Be a sponge
Soak up as much knowledge as you can. Be observant. Pick up on the office lingo. Once you have been introduced to the overload of knowledge internships provide, it is extremely beneficial to document all that you are learning, to ensure that you never forget it! Be proactive.
7. Be confident
Confidence is one of the most appealing qualities someone can possess. Do you know of anyone who just oozes confidence? Be that person. Even if you don’t have the slightest clue of what the hell is going on, look like you do. Supervisors can tell if you are confident or not within seconds of speaking to you, and because of this, they know of who they want at their agency or company. If you second-guess or doubt yourself, why wouldn’t your supervisor?
8. Check in
Similar to not waiting to be told what to do, go to your supervisor, on your own, and ask how you are doing. Ask what you can improve on or if they have any advice or tips for you. By doing this, your supervisor will see that you care very much about your performance.
I cannot stress this enough! Becoming familiar with your supervisor, co-workers and other staff is one of the most crucial things you can do. Networking with the staff at your internship can open many doors for you in your future career. Your supervisor may want to hire you as a paid employee, or the staff you became familiar with may know of places that will hire you. You will eventually be a professional in the field, and if you ever need assistance, you will have a slew of professionals that you already know to ask!
10. Stay connected to your supervisor/other interns
Once you complete your internship hours, do not lose touch with your supervisor, co-workers, or other interns. By staying connected to your supervisor, they can take on the role of a mentor. I speak with my undergrad internship supervisor, on occasion. You do not need to speak to them regularly. Instead, just shoot them a text or call them up when you need information or advice. Try meeting up with them for a cup of coffee to catch up on each other’s lives. Knowing too many professional people is never a bad thing. Take advantage of it!
By following these tips, you can definitely get the most out of your internship. Making a great impression and having your supervisor love you is definitely a positive, however; this is your internship, your education, your experience. Make it a great one for you.
Good luck at your internship!
Featured image via Pexels.