Autumn is coming and the intern season starts again. Many current students and graduates will begin their journey in the working world trying to gain a valuable career experience. An internship is a good possibility to practice what you have learned at your school, enhance your skills, get a solid contribution to your CV, increase your network and surely get a full-time position. Here we have summarized some tips how you can make best of your internship.
Get to know your company
Before your first working day, make a research about the company you are going to make your internship for, e.g like company’s history, culture, vision, mission, products and services etc. Read also about the industry and the competitors in the field. Moreover, you can track the recent media. Some basic research on your company will help you to feel more confident and will give a good first impression right from the start. More specific, inside information you will gain later.
Take care about your dress
Depending on a country, culture and a company there might be different requirements on how to dress. Some companies might not care about it but some really do. It is advisable to find this information before you begin with your practical training. You can contact HR manager or to check company’s website. Employees should not be judged by the way they are dressed but dressing properly will present you in the best light and demonstrate your effort to look professional.
Internship = real job
It happens often so that students do not work properly during their internship thinking that the internship is just a way to earn the school’s credits since it is usually not paid or low paid. Generally, interns are given boring and not challenging tasks that nobody else in a company has time to do. However, you should always treat your internship as a real job and therefore invest all your efforts in it. Think about that your activities even if they seem to be minor, they still impact the whole organisation helping it grow and develop. You will surely be rewarded for your engagement!
Be curious, show interest and initiative; dare to ask questions and be ready to go out of your comfort zone. Remember, you are here not to do what you already know. On the contrary, you must learn possibly many new things from different fields and from different people – your colleagues, bosses etc. As our summer intern Anna mentions: „It was not easy for me to start writing blogposts and web content pages. I did not have any professional experience with WordPress before. Anyway, I pushed myself and started doing it. And I was satisfied with the result! Moreover, training my writing skills will help me in the near future when I start working on my thesis. So my advise: overcome your fears and embrace the challenges”! You can read one of Anna’s awesome blogposts here.
To be active is good, anyway you cannot be always ready for everything. Try to choose the tasks that interest you most and might help you to gain valuable knowledge for your future career. Having the courage to say „no“ to certain tasks is also a part of your intern experience.
Communicate with your internship mentor
While doing your internship you will be provided a person who will guide you, supply you with tasks and help to organize your work. Do not be afraid to ask difficult and stupid questions. Remember that your eagerness is a demonstration of your interest, motivation and desire to learn. If you have some problems or you cannot manage doing your project or task by the certain time, feel free to discuss it with your internship supervisor. Asking for a feedback is an important part of the practical training.
Develop your network
Socialize with your colleagues, during working time and outside of it; show them what you are able to do. The better they know you, the more chances you have for the support from their side when it comes to the decision on the full-time position for you. Use all given chances to participate in events outside of the company, as fairs, conferences, meetings with customers etc. Our intern Nelli had an excellent opportunity to network in a start-up hub Hong Kong. Read more about Nelli’s awesome experience as a Study Advisory’s intern in this dynamic business megapolis.
And here there are some tips from our colleagues and interns about their internship experience:
Hazel (Hong Kong):
I think internship gives me a really good opportunity to put the theory into practice, to understand how business is going. I can apply my knowledge in my work. Also, I can learn some of the skills that I could not learn from school, like establishing interpersonal relations and communicating with clients. To make best of it , I think you should be humble, modest and open-minded to learn as much as you can, including accepting the negative comments.
An internship is often as good as you make it. You should not swallow anything and do tasks that you feel have no purpose for your personal or academic growth. Of course you have to start from somewhere, but to make an internship great, I feel like it has to be a two-sided thing, where both the employer and the intern feel like they are getting something out of it (other than study credits). It’s an amazing oppotunity to put one’s skills into practice and find out if your study field really is your cup of tea in the real working world.
Doing an internship is usually a great way to learn completely new skills, as well as to get more practical know-how of the things you have studies in the university. Personally I found myself for example learning some basics of HTML coding, even if I had never considered myself a technical person before. The new skills learnt during my internships have helped me very much later on my career. An internship can also be an opportunity to discover what you would like to do in the future – as well as a way to realize what you don’t like!
Written by Anna Korobova