Prepare for your career by getting the most out of your uni internships
Getting an internship is a great opportunity not only to experience being part of the workforce but also to get a headstart in your career. Once you have successfully landed the coveted internship, take advantage of your situation by following these six simple steps.
1. Practise professionalism
Never underestimate the value of acting the part of the professional worker. How you present yourself and how you interact in the workplace directly impact your chances of landing a full-time job after graduation. It also significantly affects your chances of getting a good report should you use your internship supervisor or employer as a reference later. Punctuality, proper attire, and even good email etiquette are significant aspects of looking the part of the professional worker. They will solidify your good reputation and improve your overall internship experience.
2. Learn as much as you can
Internships are as much about education as they are about work experience. Pay attention to how others operate and how they accomplish their goals. Try to understand and emulate the routines that your co-workers follow and the strategies they implement to accomplish their work. There is a big difference between understanding the concept of how something is accomplished and putting that knowledge to use. For example, you may understand the basics of network security but observing the actual use of those tools and tactics to monitor and protect a network will take that knowledge to a new level.
3. Get to know your co-workers
Take the opportunity to introduce yourself and make a connection with your co-workers. That personal connection will not only help you during your internship but will also serve to grow your social network and improve potential future recommendations. The most successful workplaces are more like families, where co-workers learn to rely on one another’s skill sets and establish meaningful relationships. By getting to know your co-workers, you will vastly improve not only your experience but also the general atmosphere of the workplace by becoming part of their organic structure rather than an outsider.
4. Establish a Mentor
Seeking mentorship is a great way to enhance the experience of a university internship. A good mentor will guide you along the way and help you further build your social network. While some internships will automatically assign a mentor, if the choice is left up to you, seek out a model employee who is equally and positively engaged with their co-workers. Someone whom everyone else respects and has the same skills and character traits that you want to embody is the ideal candidate. By taking you under their wing, a skilled mentor can give you all the instruction you will need to excel at your internship and prepare you for the workplace.
5. Keep in contact
Establishing a social network is always critical to future career goals. Just because an internship is only temporary does not mean you should sever ties with your co-workers once your time is up. Rather, you should take that opportunity to reinforce those connections by staying in touch long after your internship is completed. On top of providing general comfort of a social safety net, these co-workers can provide valuable insights in the future and serve as character references when you apply for jobs after graduation.
6. Review your experiences
Once an internship is over, it is a good idea to go back and reflect on what you have learned. A good strategy for this is to keep a journal during the internship or to regularly take notes while on the job. This will better enable you to look back on the skills and traits that were best suited for that field. Doing this will help you decide if this is a career field you want to pursue and what skills you need to refine.
Making the most of your internships will have lasting results on your career, so seize the day and take full advantage of the opportunity. Follow these steps, and start preparing for your future career today!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and workplace tips. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.