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internships

Career Transition

How to Get the Most Out of an Internship for a Future Career

November 30, 2020

Every student faces a hard reality after graduating — you have to have some kind of work experience to get a decent job. But how can students who’re spending most of their time studying get this experience?

The answer, often times, is through an internship.

This is a great way for students to practice their knowledge and gain new skills. Some students even manage to land a job at the same place they worked as interns.

In other scenarios, students get several internships at once. According to a report by Chegg, out of the average 60% of students who usually do internships in their class, 27% get two internships, and 13% do three.

With that said, internships are usually quite competitive, and it takes a lot of effort and even luck to land one. It means that you can’t afford to waste such an opportunity, and you need to make the most out of your internship.

So, here are a few practical tips on how you can take away as many benefits from your internship as possible to pave the way for a successful career.

Develop Connections

Building the network of connections is probably one of the most important parts of the internship because you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits from it in the long run.

In fact, getting useful connections is one of the things students want from an internship because if they form successful relationships within a company or an organization, their chances to stay and work there after graduation will be higher.

However, it’s not just about getting a job. Developing solid connections will also help you get the knowledge that no college could give you.

What can you do to build such connections?

  • Be friendly. Don’t shy away from conversations, participate in organizing events, and corporate parties. Even something as small as joining your co-workers for lunch can help develop a meaningful relationship with them.
  • Have a one-on-one meeting with your boss. At the beginning of your internship, ask your boss for a meeting, during which you could ask about their career path and the knowledge they had to get to be where they are. Such a conversation will help establish rapport and lay a solid foundation for a good relationship.
  • Always keep in touch. Even after your internship is done, make an effort to maintain the relationships that you formed because they can benefit you at any time when building your career.

In general, when applying for an internship, say that your goal is not just to learn, but also to build connections. Everybody in the business world understands the importance of that, and they will appreciate your openness.

Find a Mentor

An internship cannot be successful if you don’t get a mentor. This is the only way to get solid knowledge and start developing skills as you learn from someone who’s been in the industry for quite some time.

It doesn’t matter which internship you’re doing, getting a mentor is essential for your success. Even if you’re an intern in a foreign language school helping students learn Italian, try to spend as much time with a teacher assigned to you. Observe them, see which teaching methods they use, and then apply that knowledge.

So, before your internship, discuss the possibility of getting a mentor and explain why you need to have one. After all, you will need someone who will dedicate their time to guide you through all the processes, so this person needs to be prepared for that as well.

Ask for Feedback

If you want to get the most out of your internship and make this experience benefit your future career, you shouldn’t shy away from feedback, no matter whether it is good or bad.

Feedback can help you evaluate your achievements and see what else you can do and learn to improve your knowledge and skills. Whether it’s coming from your mentor or an average colleague, this feedback will help you grow as a professional.

Here’s how you can as for feedback in a correct and appropriate way:

  • Ask for regular meetings. Make sure that you discuss your achievements with your mentor on a daily basis and document every comment that you receive to see what you need to work on.
  • Make weekly feedback requests. Ask your mentor to give you weekly evaluations with both positive and negative feedback to objectively evaluate your work.
  • Ask for feedback from different sources. From time to time, ask for feedback from the company executives as well as other employees who could also give you some tips on how you can improve yourself.

Don’t be afraid of feedback because it’s also a valuable source of knowledge. Don’t outright reject it and try to look at it as a learning opportunity if you want to get the most out of your internship.

Takeaways

Everybody has different goals when getting an internship. Some obtain one just for connections, others want to learn something valuable. However, there’s always a common goal for everybody – to get everything they can from an internship.

Hopefully, these tips will help you do exactly that and lay the foundation for a successful future career.

BIO: Kate Khom is a passionate writer and blogger who likes sharing her thoughts and experience. Currently, she is working as a digital marketing specialist and develops online business branding, you can check her site. Feel free to contact her on LinkedIn.