So you’ve decided to complete an internship but don’t know where to start? Internships Down Under has extensive experience in arranging internships in a wide range of fields and we are happy to share our knowledge. We have put together a three part series covering the ‘Before’, ‘During’ & ‘After’ stages of an internship detailing things to consider.
In this post we focus on things to consider during the internship to increase your chances of success.
When you first arrive at the host company for the start of your internship, it is important to have a proper induction into the company. Internships Down Under issues an induction guide to all host companies to assist them with this information. During the induction, it should be clearly identified who your intern supervisor will be for the full duration of your placement. The supervisor will be your first contact for questions, issues, and anything else that may need to be discussed during the placement.
A training plan and learning outcomes should be developed which meet your expectations from the placement. In some industries/companies, it can be difficult to form a plan for the entire duration of the internship as businesses can be dynamic and constantly changing.
It is also recommended to keep notes on the things you have learnt during your internship, and save any works you are involved with to later include in your portfolio (remember to check confidentiality requirements with your company before doing this).
Please note that the first week of many internships can start slowly. This can be for a number of reasons including the company ensuring they are confident in your ability, or making sure that you understand all areas of the business from the ground up to make future training clearer.
Potentially the most important factor in completing a successful internship is your relationship with your supervisor.
Communication with your supervisor from the start of the placement is essential.
You must voice your expectations of the placement and continually communicate the tasks you like/dislike on an ongoing basis.
It is a good idea to request regular scheduled meetings with your supervisor where you can each share feedback, suggestions, and any advice to enhance the experience.
It is recommended that you are open and honest in these meetings, especially if there is an aspect of the placement you are not enjoying:
A company cannot fix problems they are not aware of.
It is suggested to be open with all members. Remember that an internship is a learning experience for you. While your supervisor expects to get a certain level of work from you, you are not expected to know everything. Ask your employer whenever you have an issue or a general question about the company. Be open-minded to suggest new ideas. You can ask for your supervisor tasks, which are interesting.
The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of the internship. Enter into every aspect of the placement with a positive attitude and level of professionalism and the benefits will be much greater. Remember, you are doing the internship for you; no one is forcing you to be at the company. You need to ‘want’ to be at the internship. If you arrive every day with a negative attitude then your supervisor and other staff will pick up on this and it may affect the effort they put into your development. Sometimes you receive training that you may consider boring, but remember, this is the industry. If you plan on having a career in the field of your internship, then these are the tasks which are ahead of you; not all jobs are glamorous.
This may be your first experience in an office. There is a certain type of behaviour and attitude that is expected in an office environment. You must fit in with the office culture, it cannot be expected that they will fit in with you. Behaviour to avoid:
– Being rude
– Arriving late & leaving early
– Missing deadlines
– Dressing incorrectly (guide here)
– Inappropriately disagreeing with staff
In addition to learning as much as you can during your internship, building strong professional relationships is also key to enhancing your future career prospects. Take any opportunity to:
– Socialise with your colleagues
– Ask for advice
– Start conversations with colleagues in different departments
– Attend conferences & staff training days
– Add industry contacts to your LinkedIn contacts
Don’t take the internships too seriously. It is not a job, it is a training experience that should assist you in your future career. Make sure you have some fun along the way and enjoy the placement. Once again, be positive and friendly and you will receive the same in return.
Lastly, and most importantly; keep your ears open:
– Listen to what others are telling you
– Listen to what others are telling each other
– Listen in meetings
– Listen to informal conversations
Listening is key!