By Nur Shakylla Nadhra
An internship is a great platform to bigger and better career opportunities. Not only will it give you exposure and experience in the industry, it helps you build connections. So how do you take full advantage of the internship period?
Confirm the objectives of your internship: Often when students apply for internships through attachment programmes with their schools, their job scope and work responsibilities are largely determined by their school and the company they are applying. However, if you’re self-securing an internship, there’s no one to settle these matters for you.
Therefore, discuss your concerns, expectations and objectives during the interview with the company. This will at least make for a more fruitful internship experience and allow you to maximise your time with the company. Bear in mind of the fact that, as an intern, chances are you will be doing lots of menial tasks like photocopying documents. But keep a positive attitude and you will be able to see how these tasks are part of the work processes.
Set personal goals: Set some time before the start of your internship to list goals you want to accomplish. Make sure they are reasonable and attainable for you. Perhaps there is a specific skill set that you want to learn during your internship period, or maybe you want to build your network at the company. Once you begin your internship, work towards these goals.
Take the initiative: Go above and beyond your call of duty. You are more likely to receive favourable reviews or feedback from your supervisor or manager if you exceed his/her expectations. Whenever you find yourself free of tasks, approach your supervisor and ask if you can assist them with their work or if there’s anything else you can do. If you can manage, inform them that you’re willing to take on more tasks.
Bear in mind that your supervisor or manager has other work responsibilities to take care of, aside from supervising you, and in some cases you might be forgotten if you don’t step up and get noticed.
Make mistakes (and learn from them): Of course, this is not to say that you should purposely set yourself up for failure. This means that you shouldn’t be afraid to do anything or make a decision for fear of making a bad move. In fact, you should expect it. This is quite possibly the best way to learn and improve yourself. Reflect on the mistakes you make and seek to better your performance. Always remember that at the end of the day, you’re there to gain experience and learn from professionals.
Seek advice or feedback from your supervisor: This is also an effective way of improving yourself. Every now and then, set up a short meeting with your supervisor or manager and discuss your performance at the company. Humbly accept the criticisms you receive (if any) and find out how you can do better. Even if they only have good things to say about you, don’t rest on your laurels. Ask your supervisor or manager if there is any way you can improve.
Network: An internship is an effective platform to build connections with people in the industry. Foster and maintain professional relationships with your colleagues, supervisors or managers at the company. Remember to keep in contact with them after your stint there! You’d never know when you might need their help for future job-hunts.
Gain exposure as much as possible: Immerse yourself in your work environment to see if this is really where you want to pursue a long-term career. Attend company meetings, conferences, workshops and events every chance you get, and expose yourself to new ideas and people. The internship will give you extremely valuable insight into the working world. In addition, it will allow you to discover the pros and cons of the company, the culture, the people, as well as the industry you wish to delve into.
Do you have tips on making the most of an internship? Share with us in the comment box below!
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