1) LinkedIn is your best friend – use it!
Don’t get me wrong, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook so don’t use it to have a moan about your morning commute; but don’t be afraid to reach out to those within your chosen field and make some useful connections, check GRB's Graduate Guide to LinkedIn. During and after your internship, make sure to connect not only with those within the company, but also your fellow interns as you may want to reach out to them further down the line. Building up a healthy bank of industry contacts will come in handy during the post-graduate job search and is also useful for tracking the career development of those you may wish to follow.
2) No task is beneath you
When I was asked to do the washing up after a meeting with clients, refusing was an idea that never crossed my mind as I respected my role as an intern and recognised that every task I could take on was a help to the team. Being an intern is not always glamorous and you may not get responsibilities from day one but showing enthusiasm and initiative towards the smallest of tasks will highlight you has a reliable and passionate team player.
3) Show initiative
You will have to find a balance between confidence and reservation, but it always pays to show you’ve gone the extra mile to pick up skills and even propose ideas. Whether this means taking notes, writing a journal that can be referred back to so you don’t have to ask for instructions again or even working through your lunch break to make sure every task is completed.
4) Do your research
Look online to source information about the environment you are about to enter. You may find information such as the expected dress code or even what tasks you may be asked to complete, but also research things such as the values and character traits the company looks for in potential employees. If you’re in doubt about anything, make sure to get in contact before you start and always remember to begin with an open mind and to form judgements based on your own experiences.
5) Use the skills you already have
Maybe you have an advanced knowledge of computing or a keen eye for design, so always voice these skills and offer to put them to use to help the team; the goal is to leave a lasting impression and companies will remember these individual traits. The best interns are the those able to progress from receiving instructions to completing tasks individually and to a high standard using initiative, skill and a passion. These personal skills (read more about Graduate Skills) are the key to accessing this level of independent success.
6) Remember those you’re working for have been in your position too – so ask questions!
There is a vast bank of knowledge right at your fingertips so make sure to find out everything you can that will help you with your career as well as with university. Find out are what degrees your peers have, their experience of life after graduation (did they travel or study more/how long did it take to find the right job), what companies they’ve previously worked for and even secure some interview tips from the experts! The most important information to get is how you can develop as an individual so always ask for feedback when the internship is over.
If you enjoyed this blog, make sure you don't miss out on last weeks blog (International Women’s Day – Leading Women). Or if you're interested in reading more about Internships, read our blog Ultimate Guide to Surviving an Internship / Job in Germany.