Internships are an important stepping stone for success after college. The experience can help you in making the tough post college decision of which road to take by letting you know things such as what your dream career is actually like, whether it is your calling or not etc (check out our article on why internships are important for more reasons).
But the task doesn’t just end at scoring an internship, the mission is to shine while you’re at it. Admittedly, a lot of students are trusted with only mundane tasks during internships and it’s easy to stick to the set up and blend in the background. But the whole idea of an internship is to make a memorable mark on these people who might be able to help you land a job after college. So the question now is how to do that? How to stand out during your internship? here’s how:
Before your first day, take a little extra initiative by asking your boss if there’s anything you can do to prepare for the first day. This initiative will tell your boss that you are taking your job seriously and that you are willing to go the extra mile. Who knows, you might even be able to impress your boss enough to get a project to work on!
Get to know your boss
Every individual has their own working style, figure out how your boss functions. This will allow you to anticipate his/her next move and requirements and you can step up and make yourself useful. This was you are better prepared to assist in a project and position yourself as an valuable asset to the company.
Make sure you know the internship description
Many interns complain that their internship experience did not turn out to be as they had expected or as they were made to believe. To ensure you don”t regret your decision later, make sure you know what you’re getting into, i.e. you know what the job is going to demand of you and what are you likely to learn. However, if your internship actually does not follow the description that you agreed to, then you have the right to question it and ensure that you get what you were promised. Sure you’ll have to do the unimportant tasks every once in awhile but if that’s all you’re getting, then don’t hesitate to contact your boss and discuss the matter with him/her.
Communicate your expectations
It’s ok, even important, to negotiate your end of the agreement, that means you can convey your expectations in terms of working hours, work, and even pay before and during the internship. This ensures that you and your employer are on the same page. At the end of the internship you can review your experience with your employer and even discuss any future learning opportunities that you’d be interested in.
Get to know your staff
Here’s how you actually become a part of the workforce despite being just an intern, by communicating with your staff. Make the effort to talk to people, ask them questions about the industry, not just people in your department but anyone who’s willing to indulge your curiosity. This way you get a deeper understanding of your workplace, also you make contacts and that’s the most important part of the internship (needless to say try to stay in touch with these people).
When you finish your task, ask for more work
Don’t just sit around and waste time after you’ve completed the tasks expected of you, ask for more work. Showing that you’re ready to tackle more work is a great move.
Take your tasks seriously
No matter how small, take every task seriously. When you’re beginning your career, it’s important to do even the mundane tasks, they’ll teach you a lot and prepare you to climb up in the ladder because how will you lead someone someday when you haven’t walked in their shoes. So believe it, no job is too small. Also the small tasks are usually like tests, if you don’t take them seriously, how can the boss trust you with the important ones?