An internship is an opportunity that’ll prepare you for the rest of your career. An internship takes you out of your ‘student mentality’ and brings out the young professional in you. Still, an internship won’t mean much if you don’t know how to leverage one. Here are 12 steps to make the most of your opportunity.
1. Think Of It As A 10-Week Reverse Interview
Consider each day as just another day of your interview so that you’re sharp, focused and diligent. Would you lax off on your interview day? No you wouldn’t. Continue to impress each day and you’ll win.
2. Make An Impact
Make a measurable impact by thinking ahead and beyond, asking astute questions, showing your intelligence, willingness and dedication. Volunteer for advanced tasks and spend extra time to learn stuff from your superiors.
3. Ask For Help When You Need It
If your boss is the kind that expects you to learn on the job, don’t feel intimidated. If you’re stuck with something, don’t waste precious hours. Ask for help –your initiative will be noted, along with your efforts to save time.
4. Ask For Feedback
Ask your manager to give you feedback at the end of each week. Write down the feedback and the next week, show your manager what you did with the feedback given. Then ask for that week’s feedback.
5. Make Friends
Smile often and always make some pleasant conversation, though respectful and limited. It’s ok to be friendly with everyone, even your superiors. Make friends of everyone, from the mailman to the top man. All your friendships can be turned into your network later on.
6. Explore The Company’s Culture
Understand how your company works – the working culture, the dress culture, holiday culture and so on. Then compare this data with other companies. You’ll find many parallels within the same industry. This due diligence will help you follow the right culture when you begin your career.
7. Be Visible
One of the biggest complaints from managers is that their intern is invisible. Be visible. Be seen. Be known. Make yourself visible by voicing your thoughts and opinions respectfully, with confidence. Don’t hide.
8. Understand The Context
Learn how the organization operates. Interact with various teams and find out how everything works as a whole. . Learn about the various functions behind the running of the business. You will earn newfound appreciation for your employer and have a better understanding of what you’re doing as well.
9. Impress With Your Hard Work
This doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself with 90 hour weeks. Still, be willing to work hard and after-hours at times. Offer total support to your manager, such that he or she sorely misses you once the internship is over.
10. Watch The Clock
When assigned a task, do it within the given time. If you have doubts, get them clarified immediately. Find out if your manager will be available to clarify, or get the name of another person you can approach with doubts.
11. Understand Your Own Needs And Limitations
An internship is the perfect opportunity to pinpoint what kind of work you’d like to do, and what kind you don’t want to do. This understanding will help you fine-tune your resume and your inclination for your future career.
12. Don’t Duck Your Responsibility
Be bold, and admit to your mistakes. If you’re criticized, accept it and see about improving your work. Don’t look for a trophy – it’s not Little League. Sometimes it’ll be unfair, but you have to take it on the chin and do your best.
Gagan works for http://tictwo.com/,an internship training administrator and facilitator, who works with young college students and college grads from all over the world who apply for internship in China.