Love Your Internship?
Internships are a great way to gain work experience. You get the chance to work in a job related to your field and make connections. If you do well, you may even be able to turn this temporary gig into a full time one. Here are a few ideas on how to make that happen:
- Follow the leader. Sort of. Look around you. Which employees appear to be doing well at their jobs? Follow their example.
One of the hardest parts about an internship or any job is learning the office culture. If you pay attention to what others are doing you can adapt yourself to “fit in”.
Things to look out for:
-How are people dressed?
-How do people communicate? Email, in person?
-Is this a relaxed environment or a strict, formal one?
-How often do people use their personal cellphones?
-Is this a loud or quiet environment?
-Are people always on time? Do people work late?
- Treat it like a “real” job. Technically, internships ARE real jobs (even if they may not feel like it), so take it seriously. You might be making copies right now, but if you treat it like an important task, people will notice. Who knows? Maybe your boss will see you working hard and give you more exciting projects!
- Don’t get bored. Having a break here or there is common, but you shouldn’t be sitting around doing anything all day. If you are, don’t be shy about asking for more work. It’s called “taking initiative” and employers love it. It shows you care about the work and doing a good job.
- Get happy. Even if you are bored and doing the same thing over and over again, do it with a smile. If this is a company you really want to work for, show them how happy you are to be there! A positive attitude goes a long way and people notice! This is good news for you because it’s networking without the awkward introductions. Along with this idea…
- Say thanks. There’s lots to learn from an internship and it’s an opportunity most people don’t get. When people at work take the time to help you solve a problem, or show you a new task- say thank you! Everyone wants to feel appreciated and people will be more willing to help you down the line if they know you’re grateful for it.
- Dress the part. Do your clothes “blend in” with the rest of the people in your office? If everyone is wearing suits, you probably shouldn’t wear jeans and a tank top. When in doubt, ask! The last thing you’d want is for someone not to take you seriously because of how your dress.
- Get to know everyone. If you have other interns working with you, it’s easy to form your own “intern crew” and avoid the other employees. Don’t do that! Try to get to know everyone, even the older folks. The connections could lead to more work opportunities and if you get hired on full-time, now you’ll know someone!
Many of the tips above relate directly to soft skills, so make sure you know what they are and how to use them. If you play your cards right, you’ll land yourself a job in no time!