Five tips you need on finding internship success
by StudyMalaysia on April 17, 2017 | Top Stories
It’s no secret that getting a job these days is a tough task. Furthermore, an ever increasing number of employers are citing work experience as a far more important factor than academic qualifications when hiring. In fact, lots of successfully employed graduates usually have some kind of work experience or internship under their belts, and competition for a small pool of internship opportunities has grown fierce. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?
Here are some tips you should take note of to ensure you can find internship success!
1. Know what you’re getting yourself into
If you’ve never had any work experience, an internship can be a daunting experience. It might be your first time in a corporate environment, in a real workplace. Make use of your time before your internship and do lots of research on the company you’re attached to: Do you know what the companies does? Why did you pick them? What kind of work do you want to do whilst you are there?
Keep digging for information whilst you are there, particularly during your transition period. Jennifer Welsh, a reporter with Business Insider advises, “[The company] knows you are just getting started and are supposed to be there to help you.” It’s better to get any burning questions off your chest as early as possible. Of course, make sure you time your questions just right, not in the middle of a busy work day.
2. Manage your expectations
If you’ve seen The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway, it’s hard not to get an inflated sense of what an internship will look like. Unfortunately, not all internships will feature glamorous open office spaces, good looking co-workers and an upbeat soundtrack. Even before you start, you should make a list of what you expect to gain from this internship, tempered by a good dash of realism. As an intern, you will probably be saddled with a lot of grunt work and maybe even the stereotypical coffee run. The company’s employees may not lavish you with attention, and there might not be a whole lot of pay, but you should focus on the future benefits you may reap.
3. Be an asset, not a burden
An intern has the capacity to be more of a burden than an asset to a company - they can cost employees time that could be used elsewhere. Thinking of ways you could add to the company can improve the way you are perceived and could bring you all sorts of benefits. Ask if there are any small tasks you can help with and offer to do more work than you have been assigned; even volunteering to make hot drinks would be welcome. Evaluate where you can provide the most value and where you might be a hindrance – while you should endeavour to make yourself useful, sometimes it’s best to just stay out of the way.
4. Treat it like a real job
The notorious “intern pay” and the lack of substantive work can make you feel like the work of an intern is negligible in the bigger scheme of things, but this is not a good reason to treat the experience as anything less than a real job. You should approach your internship with the same intensity and professionalism you would exhibit in a real job - at the end of the day, employers can tell if you aren’t serious, and that can seriously impact your future prospects. Little things like being punctual, dressing appropriately, writing and communicating well and being respectful are things that can make the difference between an average intern and a possible future hire.
5. It’s what you know - but also who you know
“Networking” may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s frequently cited as a crucial aspect of any career. Above all, your internship is an opportunity to make contacts in an industry you might be interested in joining one day, so make full use of it. There are plenty of anecdotes out there of people securing career opportunities through contacts and networks.
Make some time to meet as many people as possible in the office; join your colleagues for meals or staff socials. Find ways to connect with them over a coffee, an interesting news story or a shared interest. Be genuine when getting to know them - networking for the sake of networking can often backfire. “You never know who you will meet and how it will affect your future,” Morgan Thompson of GRANGE furniture advises. Remember to record a way to keep in touch, whether it be via text message or email. Whomever you meet at your internship may be able to offer you a good reference for the future, or even career advice.