Congratulations! You’ve landed the internship you’ve been hoping for. Now what? How do you realize as much knowledge as possible and demonstrate value to the organization? Both employers and interns offered the following advice in realizing a productive and positive internship experience that leads to the ultimate goal – a full-time job offer!
- Illustrate your commitment, leadership abilities and potential in an unfamiliar environment by being prompt, staying busy, completing all tasks well, paying attention to detail, managing your time well and taking initiative.
- Be open minded and willing to learn as much as possible, both technical and soft skills, from each person you encounter. Learn the business model, what the competition is doing and the politics of the office/industry. Ask others what professional trade journals they would recommend you read and subscribe to them.
- Expand your network of professional contacts by building relationships. To do this, you must get away from your desk and get to know people across the organization. You never know who will be supportive of your professional learning and growth.
- Be flexible and adaptable in a changing environment.
- Demonstrate the ability to work independently and be willing to take risks. Attack the work head on.
- A positive attitude is a must. Be willing to take on any task and perform it well which may lead to further and more extensive assignments.
- Find a mentor who enjoys sharing their expertise in the industry and can help you grow professionally. Connect with them on LinkedIn and continue the relationship after your internship ends.
- Ask for feedback and be open to hearing and learning from it. Set goals with your supervisor, ask how success is measured and meet regularly to evaluate your performance.
- Be humble. If you are working a problem, DO NOT assume that the company hasn’t thought of your solution before. Always ask questions and get as much background on what they have tried first, then propose solutions. As an intern, you won’t solve their business problems overnight, but you can provide support for their initiatives and provide incremental value on the edges by offering your unique perspective and skillset.
- Be professional, friendly and kind to everyone. Stay focused on work and let friends/family know you won’t be in touch during office hours. Be mindful of how you present yourself. This is your opportunity to not only learn from and contribute to the organization, but a chance to demonstrate what an excellent employee you would be! Sparkle and shine!
By: Susan Goodwin, Assistant Director and Graduate Career Coach at Daniels Career Services