Star Quality - 5 Ways to Shine as an Intern
So, you've finally landed an internship role – Congratulations! Now, you might be asking yourself, how are you going to make the most out of this opportunity? Well, there’s no denying that it's essential to be professional, but we all know that you need to go beyond that.
As an intern, this is a big opportunity to get real work experience, connect with people, and build a solid foundation for your career. To make this opportunity worthwhile, you need to have a strategic approach and a long-term view. The mentality of turning up on time and finishing up all the tasks given to you might be all well and good, but is it enough to make your internship successful? Will it make you shine?
If you want to separate yourself from the internship crowd and truly shine, follow these five steps. You never know, you might receive a job offer out of it!
Go above and beyond
As we mentioned, turning up on time and finishing up all your tasks is a great place to start, but if you want to set yourself apart try adding some "spice" into your routine. If you find yourself with some downtime, don’t be shy to put your hand up for more tasks. If exciting challenges come up, be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and take them on like a champion. This may all give you that extra experience you need to work at a higher level in the future. Suppose you end up looking for other jobs elsewhere, you will still have ample examples to share with the future interviewer that can help you in your job application.
A piece of advice though: While going above and beyond makes you shine, don't forget to first do the tasks you've been delegated!
Be a sponge
Yes - Soak it all up! Soak up all the learnings. After all, you're here to learn, understand, and experience more. There is nothing worse than an intern who thinks they know it all. Always listen to your mentors and buddies for they know the organisation better. Get a notebook and as you start your internship journey, make sure to keep a note on:
What tasks did I work on?
Who did I work with?
Did I receive training?
What skills did I learn/improve?
What are the feedbacks?
By answering these key questions, it will help you not just note down what you've learned, but also your areas of improvement.
Get noticed – for the right reasons
Working hard won't get you too far if nobody knows or understands what you're doing. Be open to discuss your current and future projects, and be interested in getting to know what your colleagues are doing too. When talking to your mentor or supervisors, be truthful about what you have achieved, and your plan of actions going forward. Just be mindful to never make it all about what you’ve achieved and accomplished. No one likes a know-it-all when everyone - including you - is here to learn!
Treat your internship role as a full-time job. Plan your day accordingly, and never ever come in late or leave early. Never use your phone during conversations or meetings, and always keep your workspace clean. These are simple things to do, but by doing these, it will give your colleagues a heads up that you're serious about your internship!
Be mindful of what you share on social media about your intern life and don't post anything that you might regret in the future. Put in the effort, as it might just lead you to a permanent job.
Build your network
Your internship is a great chance for you to meet new people and build connections.
By building strong connections in the company you're interning at, it will help you expand your sphere of influence. Make sure that you're not just focused on networking with your senior colleagues but also with your fellow interns. Every relationship you build is as valuable as the next!
If you get invited to work-related social events, don't be shy and make sure you are enthusiastic about going - this a chance for you to network with people outside of your organisation. Networking is more than just building connections but also an essential source of insight and advice. It can also help you if/when you need to look for new opportunities in the future.
As your summer internship winds down, don't shy away from asking if there are any graduate roles or entry-level jobs that you can apply for. If you shine in your internship, chances are that the employer may offer you a potential position. Internships can be a great opportunity to get a foot in the door, but only when you know how to really shine during the experience.
- Axel Rose Estacio, Digital Marketing Specialist - NxtStep