Internships are becoming ever-more important in the career-search, especially for college students and people entering new careers. For the intern, they provide on-the-job experience, an opportunity to explore different career paths, and network connections for future jobs. Even more, they may be the golden ticket for a job offer with the company or organization offering the internship.
But how do you ensure that you are getting the most out of your experience? And what can you do to make your internship a successful step in your career development? Here are three ways to make your internship worth more than taking coffee orders and copying papers.
Write Your Own Objectives
In any work environment, you should have objectives and goals that you are trying to meet, but they are perhaps most important during an internship. If you want to get the most out of an internship, you have to define what that means for you and your career goals through written objectives that you can follow. The objectives provide you with focus, reason, and motivation.
Additionally, objectives are a great way to display to your boss that you are meeting your goals and performing on the job. They provide a measurement for your boss to see how well you are performing, which will make you stand out from other interns. Because of this, it may be beneficial to go over your objectives with your supervisor. Doing so enables them to track progress and align your personal objectives with the goals of the company. Clear objectives will help your supervisor find your place on teams within the organization that help out both you and the company.
Ask for Feedback
As an intern, your job is to learn. You learn about the company, about your coworkers and supervisors, about the career path, and about the day-to-day operations of the job. You are constantly learning, which probably means that you aren’t doing everything perfectly and you’re probably making a few mistakes here and there. So, make sure to seek out feedback from everyone you work with. What are you doing well? In what areas do you need improvement? What should you keep doing and what should you do differently?
Gaining feedback along the way will help you become a better worker during your time as an intern and will ultimately help you develop yourself professionally. You will likely be able to apply what you learn from the feedback in this internship to your future career positions, whether they be in the same company or in a completely different career area.
Additionally, it’s just as important to ask questions when you don’t know something. After all, if you want to be an excellent intern, you’ll want to perform well on the job. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way, but make sure you learn from them and ask where you went wrong and what you should have done instead.
Make sure you use your internship as an opportunity to network with those around you. The people you work with and your supervisors are valuable network opportunities during an internship. This is your chance to show off your skills directly and demonstrate how great of a worker you are. Making connections through your internship can lead you down a road of new career possibilities and job openings.
Whether you are just getting started at an internship or have been there for some time, make sure to start incorporating these tips into your daily routine as an intern. It will help you get the most experience from your internship and may even lead to a new job down the road.