HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR INTERNSHIP
GUEST BLOG by LAUREN McNAMARA
If you are lucky enough to have an internship, you will understand how much of a privilege it is to learn from somebody with extensive experience and knowledge about the industry. Ultimately internships give you a leg up into your first job in a fiercely competitive market and many of those skills will stay with you for life. The Independent reported that 58% of employers now value work experience over a student’s academic achievements, so internships are invaluable on your CV.
Around 60% of graduates end up employed by the company that they intern for, meaning positions are often highly competitive. Certain internships can have thousands of applications, so it is especially important to separate yourself from the crowd. Heading into an internship with the right, motivated attitude could be the difference between you flourishing or failing at the first hurdle. Here are some simple pieces of advice to ensure you are gaining as much from it as you can:-
- Be a sponge: Whilst you’re working, make sure you become a sponge. Absorb every piece of information that is given to you, but don’t forget to ask lots of questions as and when is appropriate.
- Be inquisitive: Find out more about your new boss, and how they got to where they are. After all, that is likely to be your long-term goal. Learn everything about the industry from them that you can, whether that be little pieces of advice, to the best companies to work for after you have finished interning.
- Be excited: Every day interning will hopefully bring a new challenge so be passionate about your internship journey. Ensure you are at the office on time and ready to get going. Even better, get there slightly earlier than others, so you’ve organised your personal things and can get straight to work once you are set tasks. Make sure to bring a diary, or somewhere you can write down notes.
- Prove yourself: When you begin interning, you’re going to be faced with new challenges – that’s the whole point! Maybe you aren’t the kind of person who excels at a certain task, but it is important to take each task as a learning opportunity to boost your skills.
- Build good working relationships: The point of internships is that they are an entry point into a career. During your time there, build a good rapport with your employer so they become a great future contact. This is probably your first shot at networking, so make it count. Building working relationships with professionals is something you must do throughout your whole working life, and it is never too early to start.
- Learn to love constructive criticism: Being told that your work is great is always going to make you proud, but being given constructive criticism is just as good. Whether this means that your writing needs some improvement, or that you need to work on your communication skills, everything your boss tells you is valuable and can be applied to your future career.
Internships are difficult to obtain but can be an invaluable way of understanding the workplace. In addition, they provide a structured working environment and an ideal opportunity to find out what the individual likes and dislikes about that particular role or sector. As most graduates have no idea what they want to do when they leave University, it is a great way to learn.