Most of us are soon starting our internship, but what do we have to consider while interning, well Campusbee presents the top 5 tips for a successful internship.
1. Attitude, attitude, attitude!
Think about the people you most enjoy spending time with in your personal life. I know for a fact it’s not the constant complainers or those that are forever draining. You enjoy spending time with positive people; people who add joy to and enrich your life. You like being around people who, when you ask how their day was say, “Great!”
Employers know this. They look for new hires that add to the workplace and influence others positively. If you know you have these characteristics but are having a tough time relaying this in an interview, pursuing an internship or other volunteer work experience may be a great way to showcase your awesome, positive personality.
2. Flexibility & adaptability
Employers look for flexibility and adaptability in their new hires so you can bet their looking for these traits in their potential interns. Employers see stagnation in growth all of the time- employees that are slaves to their job descriptions, just barely meeting the minimum requirements. This doesn’t put these employees first in line for a promotion, so you can be sure that an intern that isn’t exceeding expectations likely isn’t a shoe in for a job or a phenomenal reference.
I always tell new interns to “go above and beyond!” To always give 150%. Do more than you’re asked to. Take on tasks that scare you and show the host organization what you’re capable of. Chameleons are of the utmost value to any organization. People who are confident in their ability to learn and are willing to take on tasks at any level, in any department are best positioned to show their worth and better discover what their capable of.
3. Be Proactive
You should never, ever be bored!
In my third year of university, I took on a work term with the Business Analysis department of a large organization. When I first arrived, my direct manager was on vacation for another week and a half. Good planning guys! Basically, no one had any idea what I should be doing and were happy to have me sitting around reading training manuals until she returned. Now, this isn’t the type of poorly planned placement we support but there’s a lesson to be learned here. I promise! I sat around reading manuals for an hour and a half and by this time I was SUPER bored. So I began taking on all of the tasks that no one else would ever want to do, just to keep myself occupied. I was busy filing, photocopying, data entering. I even managed to slip cleaning a storage closet in there.
I didn’t enjoy doing any of these things. But as a result, by the time my direct manager arrived, the rest of the staff had great things to say about me. Albeit mostly because I took on all of the tasks they dreaded doing.
Use every opportunity to prove your work ethic and ability to take initiative. Filing and photocopying certainly didn’t expand my analysis abilities but it put me on the fast track to learning about the company’s processes and practices and enabled me to make a good first impression.
4. Ask questions
We ask questions because we care about what we’re doing and want to learn to do it better. I’m not saying you should ask unnecessary questions in an attempt to show your dedication to the organization. I mean for you to ask for information that will truly supplement your learning and add to the value that you’re getting from your internship. People can tell when you aren’t being genuine so don’t over do it.
Ask questions about policies, processes and procedures. Ask about the organizations growth strategy. Ask your colleagues and managers for professional advice. Find out how they got to be where they are today. Let them be your mentors. Not only will you learn, giving people the chance to talk about themselves almost always results in them forming favourable opinion of you. Double win!
5. Be realistic
You may need to lower your expectations before you enter your internship.
Yes, we all think we would make fantastic managers. And you probably will, in time. I’m a bit of a ‘know it all’ myself so I understand the feeling of wanting to take control. Unfortunately we’ve got to put in time at the bottom to learn to someday get to where we want to be. Show your initiative but know when to be humble. Even though we feel this way fellow ‘know it alls,’ we’ve got A LOT to learn. It would be a crying shame to miss a brilliant lesson. So keep an open mind and take it all in.