How to Start Off Your Fall Internship With a Strong Foundation

By Danni White on August 21, 2017

via Interns Australia

Internships are an extraordinary time to put what you have been learning into practice and to gain some experience in the working world, and hopefully, in the field you would like to work in someday. Interns often receive a lot of guidance and support from those who supervise their work and those who work alongside them that puts them in a good position to succeed after graduating.

Like any new experience, there is initially some trepidation on the first day coupled with the goal of making a good impression. Making a good impression could mean a full-time job in the future as well as good references and lifelong friends. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to ensure your internship is well-worth the time and effort.

Seek the right internship opportunity

Avoid getting into an internship just because some of the students in your class have one. If you do this, you will most likely take the first one you find and not receive the full benefit of such an experience.

Begin your search by asking questions: How does this relate to my academic goals? Is this needed to receive class credit? Will I be able to use this experience on my resume and/or in the working world? Is the company I’m choosing worth the time and effort? Questions like these can help guide you to the right internship.

Set personal goals and expectations for the experience

The more goals you set for yourself, the more likely you are to succeed. The more expectations you set for yourself, the better you’re going to be at holding yourself to a certain standard. The company or organization has goals that you will be a part of achieving and setting your own goals inside the company goals means you can personally achieve too.

Go into an internship expecting to do what your supervisor tells you, but also be prepared to take initiative and make the opportunity one that is worthwhile. Almost every situation can be a learning experience if we make it so.

Meet the people you will be working with beforehand

People help to make companies what they are so it is a good idea to reach out and connect with some of the people you’ll be working with. Doing so can help you learn more about the company, the type of characteristics it looks for in its employees, and the goals of the company.

A face to face meeting is sometimes possible, but if not, simply research them. LinkedIn can be a very good source of information as well as a simple Google search of their name.

Develop lifelong connections early

Internships are an opportunity for you to develop connections with people that will last a lifetime. You will always be able to refer to those connections if you have a question or even if you need a recommendation.

Further, you can place your internship on your resume for future job applications and count the skills you developed as part of your repertoire.

Be prepared to do your best work

Like anything in life, you must give it your very best shot. Those who make the best grades, many times, aren’t necessarily the smartest, but they work the hardest and are committed to doing excellent work.

Giving your best isn’t just an activity; it is a state of mind and enhances your personal well-being. One reason is that when we do our best work, we not only help reach the overall goal and impress the boss, we also feel good about our performance.

Seek out advice from your supervisor and coworkers

Be ready and willing to ask questions. Many times, interns fear asking questions because they think it will come across as stupid or it will be overlooked because of their age. That is almost never the case. In most instances, people are willing to answer your questions and give you advice when and where you need it.

Seeking advice and asking questions is part of what it means to learn. If we don’t understand or know something, we ask. Even Google is willing and ready to give us answers; all we have to do is type in the question. Of course, it takes practice but over time, you will learn a lot more by overcoming that fear and reaching out.

Internships, like most everything else, are what you make it. With classes and other duties, you can still make your experience a rewarding one with the suggestions above. Once you get past the first day, I promise, it will become easier. And if you’re not in your final year yet, you may want to consider doing another one — for the fun, the connections, and the experience.

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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