With graduation quickly approaching, I begin to think what is next for me? Starting in May, I will begin my internship program with hopes that this will open the door for me. Most employers are now hiring individuals based on their real world experience. An internship is the perfect opportunity for people who are looking for that real world experience, but at that same time still have the guidance and assistance from a mentor. An important factor to remember is that no matter how small the job or task is on the internship site you are still getting that feel of a real life job is like.
An internship also gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge about that field, implement the skills you already have and know, as well as work with others and learn team building skills. Internships can help improve your communication skills and how well you effectively communicate with co-workers.
Another good thing about internships, is this is the one time in-between your college career winding down and your professional career beginning- I’m sure for those of us interning will be surprised how much we grow up during that short time frame. During this time it is also essential to remember networking. This is a perfect time to reach out to those in the company you are interning for make sure you really impress them, this way you can use them for references in the future or for social networking.
Internships are not only a time for superiors to evaluate subordinates, it also a time for subordinates to evaluate and assess superiors, current employees, and the company. For example if the company was really impressed by you and offered you a job but you were not pleased with the company- then you would not want to accept an offer where you will not be satisfied. Make sure that the company you are interning for has ethics and standards that they go by, that match your likings or preference.
I found this site to be helpful for anyone looking for tips on internships: Top Tips for Internship Success http://www.fastweb.com/college-jobs-internships/articles/573-top-tips-for-internship-success. I liked how the authors offered tips of being professional, here are some of them:
- Show up on time. Tardiness is not a quality employers look for in potential hires.
- Take only the specified break-time for lunch or coffee and always return on time.
- Avoid missing work. If you must be absent, request permission from your supervisor in advance.
- Dress for success. Take cues from your co-workers and dress appropriately.
Another key factor the authors mentioned was about keeping a log or maintaining a record. This is good idea because you do not want to forget anything you learned during that time. Here are the tips they offered:
- Log in with a daily journal. Create a list of your daily tasks and chart your feelings about your work. Which tasks did you like the most? Which seemed the least interesting? Reviewing the list later can help you make future career decisions.
- Record your various projects. Describe the purpose and guidelines of each project and your particular contribution.
- Keep a professional souvenir. Ask your supervisor if you can keep a copy of any projects you work on – brochures, reports, etc. These can be a great addition to a portfolio when you’re looking for a job.
- Keep in touch and keep a record of your performance. Ask for copies of any performance reviews. At the end of your internship, ask for a letter of reference.