Work experience can only be achieved through internship and it is relatively difficult to get a job without it. Simply gaining an internship isn’t enough to make a strong foundation for your future career. Here are a few handy tips on getting the most out of your internship:
- Create a positive impression
While you undergo internship, you are continually building and developing your professional brand gaining experience from the role and learning from those working with and around you. If your aim is to continue your relationship with your host company or build upon your professional network, interns need to understand that the remaining professional and working hard will be the best options for either options to occur.
- Ask questions
The primary goal for an intern is to gain relevant work experience from the experience. You should ask your superiors and other employees about things that you wish to learn, but make sure you don’t ask them too often as this may come across that you are not listening or following business procedure.
- Submit your work on time
When you are provided work, make sure you ask some questions to ensure the work is completed correctly and on time. Some relevant questions to ask your supervisor are as follows;
- What is the deadline for the project/work?
- Who else will be working with you and assisting you with the work?
- Are there any limitations that you should be aware off in meeting the proposed deadline?
Meeting business deadlines is a key example of proving your value to the Host Company and commitment to your service.
- Introduce yourself and develop your internal business network
Introducing yourself to a host company and their employees as an intern is a very important step for your career development and building upon your professional network. Australian businesses welcome any opportunity to ‘give-back’ essentially meaning that they like to educate and develop new staff within their business.
Being open to learning and meeting new people within the business is crucial to making a name for yourself and building upon your professional network. Introduce yourself and speak with staff at any opportunity.
- Write down everything in a journal
Keep running a log of your activities during your internship. This not only helps you during times you are asked to submit a weekly report to management, but also in helping you build upon your resume in the future.
Information that you should document is as follows;
- What was your involvement in the project?
- What were the identified risks?
- What solutions did you institute to successfully complete the project?
- Lessons learnt; what did you take away from the project and what would you change next time?
Not all questions listed above are relevant to all projects and workloads, however it is important to have a structured approach when managing your time and tasks and a similar approach to the above will ensure your success.
- Request feedback and be open to self development
There will be times that your employer will talk to you or someone who has a higher position than you. During those times, you should ask for feedback regarding your work, performance and communications in order to self-develop your skills and position.
Some businesses offer an internal communication allowing for open feedback and discussion called ‘360 Degree Feedback’. If this is offered to you, embrace the opportunity to learn third-hand about your skills and capabilities so you can work towards further development of these skills.
- Learn about the company
Companies in Australia utilise interns as a means to recruitment and hire new staff for their business.
It is important to ingrain yourself within the business and learn everything you can about their operations. Important information to research during your internship;
- Organisational structure
- Organisational stance within the marketplace and assess the competition
- Mission and values
- Be discreet and remain professional
With the rise of the internet and social media, it is important to keep both your professional life and personal life separated from each other. Posting negative status updates on social media can easily be found and misconstrued, therefore ensure you do not mix business with pleasure.
- Understand your role within the business
Understand that you are an intern and your involvement with the business is purely for the purposes of learning and self development.
You are professional and highly qualified, but you need to develop the foundations of your professional business skills within a professional environment.
- Maintain contact
After your internship, you should remain in contact with the business. This can be beneficial in case you are looking for a permanent job and they are hiring for someone fit for the position.
Methods in keeping contact can be as simple as a phone call every couples of months and connecting with key staff on LinkedIn.
Successfully completing your internship does not necessarily mean completion of your placement from the start date to through to the finish date without incident. How you manage your time, tasks, attitude and professional capabilities will determine with you successfully complete with employment and connection opportunity or not.