75% of students at some point work an internship in their college career.
Internships allow you to learn exponential amounts of skills and knowledge to help you start your career. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make your internship go smoothly:
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Chances are, many interns don’t have much real experience in their field coming into the workplace, so initially, it can be intimidating and scary. Things will come more naturally with time so it’s okay to not get things perfectly right away. You will make mistakes, a lot of them- everyone does! It is all about learning and growing from these errors each time. After all, that is what internships are for in the first place- to learn.
Most people are aware work environments have basic requirements when it comes to dressing code, etiquette, etc and it is essential interns follow them to make a good impression. You don’t have to go out and spend loads of money on business clothes, but it is important to come into work looking presentable and well put together. The same goes for acting professionally when interacting with your co-workers and upper-level executives- feel comfortable inputting your opinions, but be careful to not overstep boundaries. There are a time and place for everything.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As an intern you’re not supposed to know everything, so if after researching something is still unclear don’t be hesitant to reach out to someone who may know the answer. That way you are not only learning from those with more experience around you, but you are also making sure you are doing your job the right way. Be sure to take notes and remember the advice given each time so you’re not repeatedly asking the same questions.
Once you learn the ropes of your role as an intern in a company, take initiative to go above and beyond what you are asked to do. It goes a long way when you show you’re willing to go the extra mile to make your boss’ life a little easier. These are the “go-getter” kind of people they are looking to employ and will make you stand out from the rest.
Network & Socialize
Internships are some of the most valuable experiences during a student’s college career, not just because of all the skills you learn but also due to the people you meet along the way. Take advantage of all the successful people you come across and meet- these are connections that can benefit you tremendously in your future career. Introduce yourself to others in different departments, add co-workers on LinkedIn and socialize with other employees whenever you get a chance to leave a lasting friendly impression.
Take it all in
Internships are just about the only time in life to experience a “trial-run” as an employee at a company where you can learn new things about the industry, company culture, etc without a long-term commitment. Don’t take this time for granted. Be sure to observe carefully how things work, how employees interact and pick up on other inside operations that outsiders don’t have the opportunity to witness.
Overall, internships are some of the best learning experiences to gain skills, network and meet new people, and potentially help lead to a future job offer. Work hard, but make sure to enjoy yourself along the way and take it all in. This is only the beginning of your career- the best is yet to come.