Whether during high school or college, internships offer rewarding opportunities that can influence a student’s future in a number of ways. Many different companies and organizations offer internship programs, enabling high-achieving students to earn valuable experience and credentials.
While many students seek internships to help progress their academic and professional careers, these opportunities can also expand one’s network while sharpening social and interpersonal skills. As the adage goes, “life is all about what you make of it,” and the same can be said about internships.
To help you actualize more than just a resume bullet point from such opportunities, here are few intern success tips to help you make the most of an internship with any organization.
Be On Time and Prepared
Though you have likely heard this tip over and over again, the same positive qualities you have been taught to exhibit since childhood also apply during your internship.
No matter what industry they are in, people love working with colleagues who are on time and prepared when they come to work. By following these basic guidelines, you will automatically make everyone’s lives easier.
What does it mean to be prepared? Well, if possible, reach out to your boss or supervisor to find out if you can do anything prior to the internship and what you need to know.
Do your research on the company you are interning for and have all the supplies with you that you think you might need. Know who your point of contact is for your first day.
During your internship, complete any prep work at home before coming in the next day.
Basically, treat your internship as you would any job you hope to keep!
Follow Directions… Then Go Above and Beyond
First, follow the explicit instructions given to you as an intern, and follow them closely. Make sure you are completing all your intern duties and be available should someone at your company need extra work from you.
After that, go above and beyond. As an intern, you are there to learn and grow while also make the lives of your peers and supervisors easier.
Although you should not bother your supervisor to find out what tasks you can take on, you should look for ways to problem-solve and take on small responsibilities beyond your normal tasks.
Companies want interns to fill the gaps in direction without needing any hand-holding. Be the intern that no one at the office has to worry about. More than that, be the intern everyone knows will get the job done and more!
When you do have questions--ask them. It’s better to ask a simple question than complete a task the wrong way.
Of course, try to gauge the mood of the office before barraging anyone with too many questions if they are not urgent, but supervisors generally appreciate questions when you have them.
Asking questions will help you learn the norms and expectations of the company and help you ensure you’re doing the job well.
While at your internship, keep notes of lessons you learn and experiences you have. Also maintain a list of your accomplishments as an intern.
These notes could help you complete a final project for school regarding the internship or serve as talking points if you should apply to a job at the company in the future.
Beyond that, the notes will help you remember what you learned as an intern so you can apply those lessons in your future endeavors.
Clear accomplishments are also great bullet points for your resume.
Get to Know People
More commonly known as ‘networking,’ getting to know people is an important part of any industry. At your internship, overcome your fears and talk to the people in your office. Find a mentor, socialize with coworkers during off-time, and make connections.
You might be surprised how helpful it can be to learn what your supervisors’ and coworkers’ stories are. They will provide you with perspective and a better understanding of the different paths careers can take.
Contacts from your internship might end up being the people who connect you with a future job one day--perhaps even at the company where you interned!
Just remember to add value to your conversations and come from a place of service. People will be more receptive when you add value rather than act as if you are entitled to their help or advice.
Make Your Intentions Clear
If you do hope to eventually work in the same industry as your internship, make your goals known to the people with whom you are working.
Even if you would eventually love to work at the company where you are interning, let your supervisor know! By being clear with your intentions you will also clear a path toward your future goals.
Looking for an Internship? Check Out the NSHSS Corporate Partners!
Students looking for an internship can find multiple opportunities through NSHSS and its corporate partners. Among companies who have partnered with NSHSS are: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Abercrombie and Fitch , United Planet, and The Intern Group.
NSHSS is proud to partner with these corporations offering opportunities for students to gain internship experience. And with the above tips in mind, you will be sure to impress them as an intern!
NSHSS also created the Intern Readiness Certificate Program (IRCP) to help prepare students for a successful transition to the professional world. Topics covered in the program include communication, critical thinking, leadership, and many more!