As you know, your internship may be the start of a long-standing career in your preferred industry. You’ll want to use this opportunity to develop yourself as a professional who delivers quality work with a great attitude, that way you’ll make the most out of your experience and increase your chances of getting hired upon graduation. Here are 6 ways in which you can stand out during your internship period.
Put in The Effort
- Demonstrate to your supervisors that you can handle your responsibilities by working hard and smart in completing the tasks assigned to you
- At times this may mean you have to hustle overtime unpaid, or even odd hours. As long as it’s not a daily occurrence, sailing through extra hours shows you’re dedicated to your role.
- Although an intern’s pay is usually meagre, the experience gained helps you learn a lot more about yourself professionally and puts you in better stead for future work stints, including a potential conversion to a full-time hire.
- Set out to accomplish all the tasks assigned to you and more. It’s important to not rest on your laurels, but instead look for work to do – that’s if you don’t already have a lot on your plate.
- Keep a lookout for areas where you can contribute and take the initiative to propose new ideas and assignments with your manager.
- If you find your tasks at hand a little too easy, don’t be afraid to request for more challenging ones. You want to show your co-workers and supervisor that you’re able to handle bigger projects which makes you a high-level intern.
Solve and Minimise Problems
- If you’re faced with an issue at your task, try to solve them on your own before approaching anyone as this shows your ability to be self-sufficient, independent and have problem-solving skills.
- However, never feel embarrassed to request help from your co-workers or supervisors when you are in doubt or need any clarification.
- If you encounter a roadblock, rather than just presenting questions, come up with a few solutions to allow your supervisor or colleague to decide on the best course of action. For example,
“I am having difficulty contacting candidate A for an interview. What should I do?
I’d suggest dropping them an email to notify them of their interview time and date, and if there’s no reply in 5 days, I will consider the candidate a no-show. What do you think?”
Learn from Your Mistakes and Seek Feedback
- Don’t expect to sail through your internship without making any mistakes. In fact, you should be worried if there are zero comments made by your supervisor on your work – if this happens, remember to ask for feedback.
- Learn to face your mistakes and do not brush them under the carpet. Accepting your errors and learning from them are crucial and commendable skills to have in the workforce.
- Asking for feedback from your supervisor and colleagues is the easiest way to find out if you’re doing well in your role, and how else you can improve yourself professionally.
- Weekly feedback sessions will help you monitor your progress and development as an intern, and will come in handy when you have to write a report to summarise your experience.
Bond Well with Your Team
- Make sure to learn something from your network of professional contacts.
- Develop good relationships with your colleagues so that you can work on projects together with efficiency and enjoyment; companies want interns who are team players and can bond well with their existing employees.
- The ability to mingle and interact with people of different dynamics across a team is key to your professional growth.
Keep Track of Your Projects
- Start a list of all of the projects you have worked on so that you can discuss your progress with your supervisor.
- It will also help you remember everything you’ve worked on to update your résumé, add to a portfolio, or talk about in future job interviews.
- Ask if you can keep examples of projects you have worked on for a portfolio. Remember that some of this information will be confidential, so always get approval before taking any copies of work with you.
It should be obvious by now that a star intern is one who takes charge of his or her own learning, takes the initiative in getting things done, and actively seeks to solve problems. This intern is also a valued contributor on the team, instead of someone who needs hand-holding.
Go the extra mile to prove yourself, and if you are the right fit for the role, you might just get converted after your internship to a full-time hire!