Almost every college student will often find themselves perfecting their resume, crafting persuasive cover letters, and updating their profile on LinkedIn, all to secure a coveted internship. Finding internships in college can be competitive and difficult, yet those opportunities are extremely valuable for gaining hands-on experience in the workplace. While the application and interview process is frequently discussed, there is a lack of information available to support you once you land the internship. How can students optimize an internship to support future career, and personal, growth?
Consider these tips to maximize your internship:
Being in the presence of working professionals is the perfect opportunity to put yourself out there and learn from those with experience. Introduce yourself to everyone you interact with and be friendly. Learn about different roles and gain connections within the company. Develop long-lasting professional relationships to make use of as references in the future. Start by connecting with your peers and company leaders on LinkedIn!
Internships are for the purpose of gaining experience so never be afraid to ask questions. You are there to learn and everyone will happily assist you. Learn about your coworkers – what do they do in their daily role and what path did they choose to get to where they are. This is the time to explore all opportunities so don’t be shy about starting conversations. An internship should give you a glimpse of what it is like to work in the industry, what different types of jobs are available, and what it takes to excel. Learn as much as possible.
While being friendly, make sure to maintain a professional demeanor. Especially if you are working with other college students, keep the banter work appropriate. Be aware of your environment. Furthermore, speaking professionally will demonstrate your oral communication skills and express maturity to supervisors.
Take your role seriously.
No matter how big or how small a task is, give it your best effort. Take all responsibilities seriously and work your hardest. Accept all assignments without hesitation. Remember, the hands-on experience will only benefit your career and professional reputation. Always be ready and willing to do anything and everything asked of you.
Have a positive attitude!
Remember to be grateful for the opportunity. You were chosen and trusted by the company. Even if you are bored or struggling with an assignment, always remind yourself that it is a learning experience. Find ways to develop important skills and never be discouraged. They were all once in your shoes!
The list could go on, but these are key takeaways that you can consider throughout your internship. Soak it all in and good luck!