It’s becoming increasing difficult to land your dream job these days. With so many people graduating from university with similar degrees, it’s no wonder people struggle to stand out from the crowd. Internships are becoming more and more popular and offers the perfect opportunity to get your foot in the door. Once you have managed to land an internship, the challenge is now on for you to create a good impression, make contacts, collect references and boost your experience part of your CV as well as landing a full time job at the end of it.
When you hear the word “intern” your mind goes straight to coffee runs and menial jobs no one else wants to do, and maybe the thought of businesses who want some affordable or even free labour. Even though some of the stereotypes are exaggerated, there’s definite truth to the fact that an internship, is not a very glamorous position, and more often than not, pays almost nothing, if not literally nothing. But do not fear. There is so much to gain from an internship and it provides a good impression when people view your CV and find that you took the time out to complete an internship to gain valuable experience in your chosen career.
Here are 5 simple steps to ensure your internship experience is not wasted:
Be the first in and the last one out
Your internship is like one long job interview – don’t rush in and out like you’ve got better places to be. You won’t have to do this for your whole professional life, but it is however very important to go the extra mile for the duration of the internship. It will show that you are keen and motivated to get the job done.
This one seems obvious, but attention to detail is a major selling point for employees because it shows your superiors that you are trustworthy, no matter how small the task. So whether you’re asked to go to the shop to get supplies or write a social media strategy, be sure you’re thorough and follow the directions completely.
Don’t just sit there waiting to be told what to do next. If you find a job that needs doing, then get on with it. Make the effort to ask people in the team if there are any jobs you can help them complete. This will instantly get you liked and you will feel settled and part of the team in no time. Also make sure your outfits are in line with what the other staff members are wearing. Don’t dress down just because you’re an intern and may not be client facing – taking pride in your professional appearance will go a long way.
Be sure to go the extra mile when completing a project. Look at previous examples of what’s been done before so you know not to miss any important information out. By going above and beyond the expectations of your boss, you are showing your passion for the work you’re doing and that you understand what it takes to get a job done.
Take a genuine interest in the job
This may sound obvious, but if you don’t show interest in the role, then why would they want you to do it? If you are finding the role boring and dull, then maybe the industry or career path you have chosen isn’t right for you. This is why internships can be so valuable – it helps you to discover what you like and don’t like about the industry or a job role. Be sure to learn as much as you can. You obviously don’t want to be a burden to your supervisor, but it’s ok to ask questions, ask to sit in on meetings or job shadow different positions in the company to grow your skill set.
When your internship is coming to a close, schedule a meeting with your boss to get feedback, ask about any job opportunities in the company and most importantly, make sure you get references. Ask anyone who you have assisted or worked with as the more references the better. You’ve put weeks / months of hard work into your internship, so you might as well make it worth your while.