By Sameeha Shaikh
Fellow and Features Writer
Let’s face it, internships and work experience placements have become an integral part of the job hunting conquest. Internships are a great way to build your industry knowledge, gain exposure to real time work and grow your network of professional contacts, but given that the main aim of completing an internship is to secure a job, it’s worth noting the ways in which you can shine as an intern.
So without further ado, I present to you my top tips on how to intern like a pro (or in other words, how to intern like a pro so that your 3 month internship turns into a full-time job! YES PLEASE).
1. Show your commitment
By arriving to work on-time (or preferably early) and leaving work later in the evening, you automatically show employers your dedication to the job. Not only are you presenting your commitment to getting the job done, but you are also showing that you can get the job done well! Employees that willingly sacrifice their time for work are usually quick to get noticed by supervisors as employees with strong work ethics are highly desirable, so interns who go the extra mile will certainly stand out!
2. Network as much as possible
Take the initiative to introduce yourself and showcase a friendly attitude to everybody you meet, from the caretaker to the CEO. Bear in mind that employers look for interns who maintain positive relations with their co-workers and for individuals who they feel can fit into the organisation well, and if you’ve presented yourself well enough your internship could magically evolve into your full-time gig! Additionally, make a conscious effort to build quality relationships with colleagues in different departments as you never know where your new professional connections can lead you!
3. Find a mentor
Having a good mentor by your side can really help to make your internship a successful experience. A good mentor will support you, give you invaluable advice and be somebody that you can learn from. A mentor can also help you to bridge that dreaded gap between being a student and an employee (we all know that struggle). So, don’t be afraid of trying to find a mentor, most professionals enjoy sharing their knowledge and look to assist new professionals.
4. Ask questions
Remember that you are an intern and asking questions is expected of you, so don’t be afraid to ask! Questions actually show your willingness to learn and your desire to get work done properly, it also shows that you’re motivated and maintain a genuine interest in your job. This is your chance to be part of a great learning experience and the more you ask, the more you develop professionally. Take advantage of the fact that you are still in the position of ‘learner’, so absorb everything you can.
5. Become knowledgeable in your field
It’s really worth immersing yourself within the company and professional field that you’re interning in. Keep up to date with what’s happening within the company through the company’s website and social media channels, but also make an effort to be aware of what’s happening around the company, for example consider competitors or new trends in the field. Being knowledgeable to this extent will help you to form engaging questions and conversations with co-workers and in turn impress them! Brownie points? I think yes!
Once I graduated from university, I became very conscious of the fact that my academic experiences hadn’t totally equipped me for the working world. After a brief panic attack, I took it upon myself to build my CV with a range of internships that have not only helped me to build my skills, knowledge and portfolio, but have more importantly given me clarity in figuring out the profession I want to develop in. I’ve learnt to take good and bad experiences in my stride, because believe me when I say that all experiences can provide you with direction and sometimes that’s all you need- along with my 5 tips above of course!