10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Internship. Internships are not a waste of time, they are an opportunity to get the right direction both career and personal wise. Here’s how to maximize your internship experience, and keep the focus on your whole career, and not just an initial job placement
1. Know What You Want
For a truly successful internship experience, be clear with yourself on what you hope to gain. It doesn’t have to be something monumental, but it does have to hold some meaning. It can be as simple as wanting to figure out if the industry you’re interning in is indeed the one you want to pursue a career in. If your goal is more skills oriented, be sure to talk to your manager about it so they can help guide your work accordingly.
2. Build Professional Relationships
Internships usually last only a few months, and it’s easy to either focus solely on your work or to make connections only with the other interns working around you. But forming broad, deep relationships within your team and throughout the organization can help you manage your current responsibilities while also boosting personal development.
3. Identify A Mentor
A mentor is someone who can guide you through your internship and be a bridge to professional networks and learning opportunities. They won’t give you a complete roadmap to success but rather, can serve as a trusted source of feedback and information. Select someone who you admire and has the skills and traits you want to develop.
4. Play Nice With Everyone
Many students are often hired by the companies they have interned for in the past. While your immediate manager may be the one to give you an actual reference, just about anyone you meet could potentially help you in your networking efforts down the road. It’s critical that you conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.
5. Seek Out Growth Opportunities
Take advantage of any training time offered to ask questions and learn new skills. If there isn’t any formal training, find new sources of information on your own. This is a rare opportunity to understand how an organization works inside and out. To get the most from your internship, approach each hour of the working day with energy and curiosity.
6. Broaden Your Skills
Remember that the purpose of the internship isn’t just for you to do work to help the company, it’s for you to learn. During your internship, maybe you’ll write your first newsletter or computer program, create a schedule, or run a project. But some internship programs reserve tedious grunt work for interns. Rest assured, no matter what work you do, you are gaining knowledge and skills that are different than the ones learned in school.
7. Always Follow Through
Whenever you are assigned or agree to complete a task, always follow through. If you feel you can’t deliver on your promises, communicate that to your supervisor. Explain why and what your next steps will be. Learning how to prioritize and delegate shared responsibilities can help avoid situations where you may under deliver.
8. Ask For Feedback
As an intern, you’ve practically got “newbie” in your title. That may be frustrating, and sometimes limit you from more exciting projects, but it also means that you’re expected to not know everything. So feel free to ask questions, always. You can also ask for feedback from managers and colleagues. While it’s hard to hear negative feedback, knowing your weak points can help you improve
9. Enjoy Yourself
This is a special time in your life. You may not be in your dream job just yet, or your dream work environment for that matter, but try to have fun. The reality of work life stresses will be upon you soon enough. Make the most out of the opportunity, make friends and connections. No matter which way you look at it, there’s something to gain and well.
10. Stay In Touch
Not every internship will result in a job offer right away. If the company and work you’ve done are of interest to you, it’s a good practice to stay in touch so that when an opportunity does open up, you will be top of mind.