Many students know internships provide real world, hands-on experience before applying for jobs.
They know internships help soon-to-be professionals decide if they’ll enjoy working in their chosen major or a particular industry. And, of course, they understand that internships increase the chances of employment after graduation.
If they’ve never interned, though, they may not know how to can gain the most out of their internship experience.
For those students and yopros, here’s Internship Prep 101, a guide for success at your internship:
Expect Mundane Work but Welcome Real Responsibility
There’s no denying that the intern in any environment has to prove that they’re irreplaceable. In the beginning, you may be assigned mundane work that doesn’t require skill or talent. You could answer the phones, complete data entry, file or even pass out snail mail.
But eventually you’re may have the opportunity to show off your talents. Don’t let the mundane work get to you. Stay optimistic; your positive attitude will open doors to real responsibility.
Learn Your Industry (The Sooner, The Better)
Your industry of choice will be far different than portrayed in a textbook. College courses are designed to teach you theory, but you’ll need to expose yourself to trade publications and industry-related social media if you want to know the trends, the competitors within the industry, and upcoming launches.
Internships are a great opportunity to anticipate the differences between theory and real world work. Stay open minded!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For More Responsibility
To be considered employable after graduation, you will eventually need to gain real hands-on experience. While some supervisors and managers are open to handing out real work to interns quickly, others overlook interns when handing out assignments.
If you’re proactive and show that you’re willing to learn, adapt and grow as you complete the first few tasks assigned to you… you’ll be in a far better position to ask for more responsibility. Do, then ask.
Be Ready to Network and Build Your Contact List
Not only do you gain experience as an intern, smart interns also network, a lot. The more contacts you gain as an intern, the more likely you are to land a job quickly after graduation. Be as friendly as you can, shadow the valuable players, and build relationships. Jump on LinkedIn and connect.
Most important: keep your contact list handy when your internship is over.
Choose a Position That Matches Your Personality and Values
A company’s values and vision will tell you the personality of organization. Some younger and companies love diversity and creativity, while others are more conservative. Some have a very structured environment, others are more casual and friendly.
Make sure you know the brand and be sure that you’re the right fit. And when your second internship opportunity comes up, choose another type of culture to learn what environment suits your working style best.
Just because an intern is considered bottom man on the totem pole, an internship is far from a waste of your time. Be proactive, positive, helpful, and social – and you’ll be certain to gain the connections and the experience you need to consider your internship a success!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Gradberry!
About the Author: Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, women’s interests, or home and family. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters who are the inspiration for her writing.
Image courtesy of nycprgirls.com… thank you!