By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
An internship is a prime opportunity to learn more about your career path and gain experience in a certain field, all while adding to your professional resume and portfolio. Internships often open the door to full-time opportunities after graduating from college and help build your network of connections. In fact, a study in Bloomberg shows that graduates with internship experience are 75 percent more likely to get a job than those without one.
Whether you're looking to find the perfect internship opportunity or have already accepted an intern position, this post is for you. There are many ways to be successful during your internship to get the most value from your time with a company. Even unpaid internships should be seriously considered. Hopefully, you'll be doing more than going on coffee runs and executing basic administrative tasks.
So how do you become an invaluable intern, setting yourself up for long term success? Here are our six tips:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Refreshing your memory on the company and position before your first day on the job is important. We recommend conducting some additional research on the company to really set yourself up for success. Its values, history and culture are all things to familiarize yourself with. Having a solid foundation of knowledge about the company and its industry will help you have a better understanding of the work you’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis. Look at the company’s website and get a visual of who you will be working with so you can appropriately introduce yourself.
The phrase “show up early and get home late” is a rule of thumb as an intern. It’s important to treat your internship like an actual job, regardless of if you're being paid or not. Your boss and people around you will respect that you put forth some extra effort. When assigned projects, do your best work and try to impress those that you work for, and even do more work than you’re asked. Showing commitment and taking initiative will help you stand out, especially when you may be competing with fellow interns for a full-time position. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
CONNECT WITH YOUR CO-WORKERS
Creating a relationship with the people you work with will be beneficial in the long run. Sure, you're spending time with them all day in the office, but if you’re invited to lunch or happy hour — go! Treat this as valuable time to connect outside of the office and show your personality. In addition to connecting with the full-time employees, get to know your fellow interns! It’s likely you are both going through the same experience, so use each other to bounce ideas off or ask questions. No matter what, also maintain a sense of professionalism in any encounter you have!
GRAB LUNCH WITH YOUR BOSS
This might sound intimidating, but most c-suite executives love to mentor interns. This is a great chance to ask your boss questions that will help you understand the industry or company better. Chances are your boss has been in the industry for a long time and can give you some valuable information and career advice as you decide the course for your career path. Most company leaders also love getting feedback from those with a fresh perspective to make your experience the best possible. Requesting time to speak with your boss also speaks volumes about your character and could impress them if you’re hoping to land a full-time position.
Be a sponge! Your time as an intern is all about gaining real world experience and a better understanding of the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask to sit in on conference calls or ask for help if you’re confused. It’s better to over communicate than to not have a clear idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. While it can be scary, asking questions gets easier as you build relationships with your co-workers.
GO AFTER WHAT YOU WANT
As your internship wraps up, schedule a meeting with your immediate supervisor to get a performance review. This is a good way to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and gives you an opportunity to share your experience with the company for future interns. If you’re interested in a full-time opportunity — now is the time to voice your interest! Let them know you are in the market for a job and see what steps you can take to apply or get the ball rolling.
It’s important to get the most out of your internship. According to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 95 percent of employers said candidate experience is a factor in the hiring decision, and over half of those employers wanted that experience to come from an internship or co-op.
Use what you learned in your time with a company for other interviews in the future. It’s better to have a little experience than none at all. If you work hard, show commitment and soak up everything you can, you’ll be on your way to the real world in no time!