9 Ways to Get The Most From Your Internship

9 Ways to Get The Most From Your Internship

As more employers are demanding experience from college graduates, internships are becoming more important than ever. But doing an internship alone won't give you an edge in the job market. To improve your prospects, you need to excel and make the most of your internship. All of the following tips can help you do just that.

1. Have Clear Goals

Before you embark on your internship, think of your goals for the experience. Be sure to only apply for positions that can help you achieve those goals. When you do receive an opportunity to be an intern, remind yourself of those goals. Before your first day, discuss your objectives with the supervisor and get on the same page. Write them down and be sure to keep your goals in mind as you participate.

If you struggle to set goals, consider the following details:

  • Skills you hope to develop
  • Specific projects you want to work on
  • Ways to ask questions about projects and expectations
  • How to find answers to questions on your own
  • When you will receive feedback and how to use that feedback
  • How you will communicate with your coworkers and boss

2. Follow Through with Tasks

One of the challenges that comes with being an intern is an onslaught of requests. Typically, you have multiple people asking you to complete various projects. If you're too eager to impress, you may end up taking on more work than you can handle.

Unfortunately, this can cause more harm than good. Accepting tasks and failing to follow through with them will only make you seem incapable or inadequate. To avoid this from happening, always consider your workload and your capabilities. If you do agree to more than you can handle, communicate with your supervisor as soon as possible. Explain the situation and ask for more time or assistance.

Following through shows you're reliable and professional. As time goes by, people will know they can depend on you to get the job done.

3. Own Up to Your Mistakes

It's human nature to make mistakes, and you can be certain you'll make at least a few mistakes over the course of your internship. However, the mistake alone won't cause you trouble. The way in which you handle your error could make or break your experience.

First, you need to own up to your mistake. As soon as you realize it, admit your error. Tell your supervisor without giving excuses for your behavior or writing off the incident. Secondly, provide ways in which you might be able to remedy the situation. By providing solutions, you show your problem-solving skills and demonstrate an ability to take the initiative.

4. Start Networking

Why wait until after your job hunt to start networking? As you do an internship, you have countless opportunities to make valuable connections. Avoid the temptation to go through your internship with your head down. Instead, be social and friendly with everyone you come across.

If you're an introvert, networking can seem like a daunting task. Try to overcome your fear by practicing a few icebreakers. When there are office events, make an effort to participate.

5. Look for a Mentor

Although you could perform your internship without a mentor, you shouldn't. Having a mentor makes the experience more valuable and guides you on the right career path. As you do your work, your mentor can give you feedback and even access to resources.

Some internships provide their interns with mentors. However, others require their interns to take a more proactive approach. If you see someone in the workplace who seems like a good mentor, be upfront with them. Speak with them candidly and ask if they'll be your mentor.

6. Collaborate When You Can

No matter what industry you want to work in, collaboration is crucial. You should practice this skill throughout your internship, seeking out opportunities to collaborate.

When you work with others, work on your communication skills. Take the time to get to know the other collaborators. Great teamwork is a combination of listening and speaking, so work hard to find the right balance. As an intern, you don't need to take the lead. But you also don't want to be completely silent.

7. Look for Opportunities to Develop

During your internship, you might come across opportunities to do training courses, classes, and other educational opportunities. Even though you might have a lot on your plate, don't pass up these chances for personal growth. They could help you get your first job or make it easier for you to advance in the future.

If no opportunities present themselves, seek them out. Ask your supervisor if they know of any resources that might help you succeed. If you don't have time to complete additional training, arrive on the job with a curious nature.

8. Journal Your Thoughts

Every night after your internship, write down details from the day. Include things you learned, accomplishments, and any other relevant details. Over time, you forget crucial moments or experiences. Your journal will help you remember what you learned during your internship.

Journaling also makes it easier to write your resume. By including specific accomplishments or numbers on your resume, you may be able to impress a hiring manager.

9. Remain Positive

As valuable as your internship might be, it's bound to be frustrating at times. Learning new skills and processes can be overwhelming and result in self-doubt. If you can't let go of those feelings, you could end up performing poorly.

When you catch yourself with a negative thought, try to change your mindset. Remind yourself of all the good things that happened to you, and all of your assets. Additionally, be thankful for the experiences and opportunities you come across.

It's also useful to reward yourself when you perform well. Incentives can keep you on the right track and avoid negativity.

Moving Forward from Your Internship

If you follow the tips above, you may be able to thrive. Your internship could be a stepping stone to a successful career. Your skills, resume, and connections will be stronger than ever.

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