5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship
From Recruiter - August 19, 2017

Whether youre a fresh college graduate or going through a career transition, internships can help fill the gap between education/acquired skills and real-world experience. An annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found 91 percent of employers say candidate experience is a factor in hiring decisions, and half prefer new grads experience come from internships or co-op programs.

While participation in an internship will certainly make you a more attractive candidate on paper, it ultimatelyand more importantlyprepares you for your future career.

How do you get the most out of your internship? First, you recognize that your time as an intern can provide you with so much more than an additional paragraph on your resume. Youll have plenty of opportunities to not only learn on the job, but also carry your share of responsibility and network with others in your field.

Here are five actions you can take to maximize the valueof your internship:

1. Get an Idea of Your Learning Opportunities Before You Start

Sure, you can wait until your first day to figure outwhat your job entails. However, understanding the expectations and opportunities of the internship before your first day means youll spend less time adjusting and more time building your skill set.

Start by asking your recruiter or contact at the company what they see as the main takeaways from the internship. Another way to phrase the question could be, What do you expect an intern would learn or see during the term?

You could also take your research one step further by seeking out previous interns for informational interviews. They might be able to give you a better sense of the day-to-day tasks and who at the company was most effective in supporting their growth. By knowing as much as possible before your first day, you can calm your nerves and maximize your growth opportunities.

2. Get Coffee Really Well

The stereotypical intern spends their day fetching coffee for the boss. The best way to gain more responsibility? Get coffeereally well.

In other words: If you want to be trusted withcomplex tasks or allowed to manage projects, you must first show you are responsibleand humbleenough to handle the simplest of responsibilities.

3. Ask for Growth Opportunities

Use your internship position as an opportunity to show the value you can bring to your manager and the organization as a whole. If you remain silent during your internship, you are likely to miss out on a wealth of professional growth opportunities. Not only should you be asking questions as they come up, but you should also be actively asking for more responsibility. Internship programs are sometimes set up to be routine and repeatable, so unless you ask to work on something outside of the norm, youre probably not going to be handed the opportunity.

Start by showing interest in the projects in your department. Take an interest in the work your colleagues are doing. Before you let too much time pass, ask to be included in a project or offer your general assistance to the manager for anything they might be working on. Rarely will coworkers turn down an offer for help.


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