In school, you learn the basics. In college, you gain the theoretical and applied knowledge about a subject and learn the fundamentals that can be used in several careers related to it. In internships, you become ready for the job.
A summer internship allows you a chance to work in a particular industry – and see if it offers the kind of opportunities you are looking for. You are able to be part of the different workplaces – and see what it will feel like to be in a similar job day-after-day and what all career progression opportunities it offers.
A good internship is the one that equips you with the tools and experiences that will lead your career success in the future.
What all you gain as an Intern?
- New Skills: As an intern, always remember that your goal is to pick up new skills, hone the ones you already possess and gain new experiences. This will help you to be actively engaged in your internship program and encourage you to take initiatives.
- Better Resume: Internships can enrich your CV considerably. The employers would like to know the job title you had, the name and address of the company you worked for, your personal contribution to the projects you worked on, and the value you created for the company.
You can mention the designs you created or blueprints you made, general tasks you completed, articles you wrote, presentations you prepared, or campaigns you worked on during the internships in your resume. You can also make a portfolio or a website to showcase your work to future employers.
You may also mention any challenges you faced during the internship period – and share how you solved them.
- Recommendations: References and recommendations are a great way to tell future employers that you are really good at your job – and likable enough to make friends at the workplace.
Doing a good job and polishing your soft skills are the two things you’ll need to make a good impression on your boss and your colleagues – request them to provide excellent recommendations when you need it.
- Strong Network: Use your internship as an opportunity to form a network of the best professionals in the industry – be it your bosses, colleagues, clients or fellow interns.
Invest some time to strengthen your network. Stay in touch with them. Offer help when you can. Go out with them or join offices parties or clubs whenever possible. Ask them to teach you something they are good at and formally thank everyone at the end of your internship.
This might also be a great opportunity for you to find a good mentor for yourself.
- Confidence and Professionalism: Internships give you a feel of what exactly a job or an industry demands from you, which helps you in making informed career and academic decisions in the future. If you don’t like a particular job, try something else and see where you are a great fit.
Moreover, working for real gives you a hands-on experience of how professionals behave, what is workplace culture, and what is office politics all about. The internship is your exposure to a professional work setting.
How to turn your Internship into a long-standing Career?
Keeping all the above in mind, you can use your summer internships to develop a great attitude, an excellent resume, and a portfolio, build long-lasting professional relationships, and a habit of delivering quality work within the deadlines. Recommendations and references, as mentioned above, are great ways to find full-time jobs.
Here are some of the things you can do to start off with the right step:
- Do your Homework: Most students research the company before they appear for internship interviews. It is a good idea to do it once more – before you join it. Knowing something about the organizations’ history and work culture, your boss, the latest news about the company, and the industry jargon helps you sound confident and knowledgeable right from the first day.
- Dress appropriately: When you meet the HR for the interview, do question them about the office environment and the dress codes, if any. Even if you are not required to wear formals, it is best to stick with smart casuals at least. Dressing well helps you look like a real professional.
Research shows that when you dress and act like a professional, you not only impress others but also feel positive about the work you do and your abilities to handle it.
- Be curious and adaptive: Interns must use the opportunity they have to pick up new skills – even if it means stepping out of their comfort zones. They must also learn to adapt to different thinking styles, ways of doing things, and communication styles.
- Learn time management: As an intern, you do not have to be at the beck-and-call of everyone around you. Do your work sincerely but if you are likely to miss your deadline despite your best efforts – let your manager know about it in time. That said, learning a few time-management tricks might help you become more efficient and achieve more in less time.
- Socialize but be cautious: Earlier we said that you should make new friends and develop relationships with your bosses and colleagues. However, you need to remember that in professional relationships, it is not a good strategy to share too much personal information or behave too casually. Filter what you say and do – and how you behave, when you are you’re your office colleagues.
- Take your job seriously: People will take you seriously only if you work as if you are doing a real job – whether you are paid or not. Keep a record of what you do, the value it has created for the company, and the mistakes you made or challenges you encountered during the project.
An internship is a two-way process. It gives employers a chance to you how good you are as a potential employee, and you an opportunity to assess whether you would really like to join the career or the company or the industry for a long term. Use the opportunity now and define your own success path.