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Tips On How To Get The Best Out Of Your Internship Programme

Internships are an incredible learning experience where as an intern, one learns so many new skills, builds up their resume with amazing experience and have a great opportunity to network with people working in their field. Most importantly, it is a time to get their feet in the door at a company they are really interested in and increasing their chances of landing a full-time job after they finish college.

The intern therefore needs to really impress. They should go the extra mile over the few weeks they are in that company to impress the boss because they never know what doors it may open in the future. You have to leave your mark.

First and foremost you as an intern MUST Be a Go-Getter. Start working before you start working. If there is any reading, prep work, or research that you should do, go ahead and do it. This ensures that you are on the same page with the rest of the workers and that you can hit the ground running.

You need also to spend some time before you start the internship setting goals that you want to accomplish. Whatever your goals, you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment once you achieve them.

Once you are in, learn to create an immediate and lasting strong impression. Appropriate professional attire, impeccable punctuality, excellent attendance, respect for general work place decorum, and meeting deadlines and carrying out responsibilities in timely ways are expectations in any professional workplace.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions because this internship is a learning experience for you. You should also prove that you are smart by always asking good questions. Asking good questions shows that you are both pushing yourself to learn more and are capable of thinking about the company, your team, and its goals and challenges at a higher level.

Consider yourself an integral part of the team, and with everything you contribute, remember that your involvement is playing a critical role in helping the team as a whole achieve their objectives.

Tackle all tasks assigned to you with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. The quickest way to kill a good internship is being negative. So, avoid complaining, being rude, disrespecting co-workers, being closed‐minded, appearing arrogant, acting unprofessionally, appearing inflexible, and taking part in office politics. You also might consider working extra hours (beyond the required number for the internship) to show your work ethic to your supervisor(s).

Capitalize on the opportunity to meet as many new people as you can -- classmates at school, co-workers at internships -- particularly in other majors or departments. You will be surprised how many of these people you will someday work with, start a company with -- or who will otherwise support you. In this day and age, your net worth is impacted significantly by your network.  It’s not just the size, but also the quality of that network. Build professional relationships with your supervisor(s) and other managers in the organization. These people are also a good source for getting other job-hunting advice and tips from their years of experience.

If people asked me to quickly rattle off a few qualities of a great intern the first things that would come to mind are enthusiastic, eager, and proactive. Being proactive is not just doing what is asked of you – it is also about going many steps beyond that. Finish up an assignment and ask for a new one. Meet someone in the office outside of your team and ask to learn more about what they do. Just observing, and sitting in on a meeting or conference call will teach you a ton about what day-to-day looks like in your industry. 

No matter how small the task you have, write it down, ask for details, smile… even if you’re running an errand, take it seriously. Even the little things that seem trivial can have a big impact on a business. Being on time and staying on later than expected will show your boss how committed you are to doing a really good job. It is these employees’ that are willing to sacrifice their own time by working overtime that get noticed.

If you really want to be taken seriously by your boss, then you need to treat your internship like it is a real job. Even though you are an intern, your work will still have some form of an impact on the company, so make sure it is good.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself and take on some responsibilities that go beyond your job description. This is your time to shine and learn as much as you possibly can, so rather than limiting yourself to the tasks set out in the job description, use it as a starting point.

One of the key things to being really successful at your internship will be finding a mentor who will support you, show you the ropes and, most importantly, that you will be able to learn from and ask for advice. Having a good mentor will make your transition from student to employee much easier and a lot less stressful.

Always pay great attention to the details. A few mistakes here and there are par for the course, but consistently having errors is not great. As tempted as you may be to turn something in quickly, don’t rush through your work. Quadruple-check everything. 

Take Initiative. Employers love employees who dive into tackling tough problems and who think ‘outside the box’ in finding solutions but make sure you work with your supervisor(s) so you don’t overstep your authority.

Save social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram etc) for your lunch break. Unless your job involves working with social media, stay off it and focus on why you are there. Remember, social media isn’t going anywhere and it will be there when you are on your own time, not your company’s.

In the end of it all, just take feedback and adjust. It is good to note that none of us is ever perfect. As you hand in a project ask yourself this question; “What are the things I did well and what could I have done differently.”  If you actually go through a whole internship doing a certain quality of work but only hear the feedback at the end, you will have lost your chance to wow your team and the company. Catch something early on? You can quickly adjust and get better every week.

Leave with Tangible Accomplishments. One of your goals with any internship is leaving it with some tangible results – both for your resume and your career portfolio (if you use one). Maybe you developed a brochure, computerized an inventory system, organized a sales conference, met with clients, tracked industry trends, etc.

Get as Much Exposure as Possible. Some of the best internships rotate you among departments and supervisors, but if yours doesn’t, don’t let that stop you from tackling new tasks, meeting people outside your department, and attending company social events. The more you are exposed to new ideas and new people, the more you’ll learn.

Enjoy Yourself. Most internships are great experiences, so make sure you have some fun while you’re working and learning. Don’t be so uptight that you are perceived as something you are not.

There you have it. Those tips will set you on track to being the best intern you can possibly be. Keep these things in mind and be a consistent support and asset to your team and you will go from simply being an intern to someone the team cannot live without and wants to hire one day.

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