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How to Get More From Your Internship Experience

How to Get More From Your Internship Experience main image

So you’re thinking of becoming an intern? Smart move! Although all internships are different, it’s no secret that future employers are always keen to take on students with internship experience under their belts.

Not only does completing an internship show initiative, but it also indicates that if you’re hired, the learning curve will be shorter. Thankfully, those horror stories you’ve heard about fetching coffee and running errands like a personal slave aren’t (all) true. Doing an internship can be an extremely valuable learning experience and you may even make some great friends along the way.

Here are 5 ways to make the most of your internship experience:

1. Look for opportunities to learn

While internship experience at a prestigious organization will always stand out on your CV, it’s also important to find an environment where you can effectively learn more about an industry or job you’re interested in. An internship at a relatively unknown company can be just as worthwhile if you're given opportunities to learn about and actively engage in their trade.

Unfortunately, not every internship will provide both of these benefits, but if an internship fails to fulfill either purpose, remember that you have the freedom to look elsewhere.

2. Talk to other interns

An excellent way to find out more about an internship is to talk with past or current interns. This will help you gain more of an insight into the way the company is run and what it’s like to work there. Some really good and worthwhile questions may include asking how the internship has helped them develop professionally, and whether or not the internship met their initial expectations.

3. Have an internship plan

Once you find a place, make sure you have an internship plan. Think about what you want to get out of this internship experience, and how you can achieve that. Try to position yourself close to those whose knowledge and influence provides you with the greatest benefits. Spend some time listening to managers and co-workers describing the structure and environment of the firm. It's worth the effort to find someone with strong connections both inside and outside the organization who can serve as your mentor.

4. Use your time effectively 

If you are in a position to select tasks and projects yourself, exercise that choice with care. You should give preference to projects that are important and visible within the company, especially if your aim is to gain a permanent position. You don't want to spend weeks or months working for a company only to find no one knows who you are or what you did when it comes to apply for a full-time job – make sure you make a mark and become a valued member of the team!

5. Don’t be afraid to give feedback

Providing constructive feedback without seeming rude or ungrateful can ensure that you get the most out of your time. It is also useful to learn how to express dissatisfaction and make suggestions diplomatically. By being clear up-front about your expectations and continuing to give feedback, you can also help your supervisor to grow as a manager, and to be more effective. And that’s a good thing for you too.

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Written by Aaron Hunt

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