According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one-third of the adult population in 2017 earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to Inc.com, every corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 resumés. Out of these applications, only four to six will be invited for an interview, and only one will be offered a job. What do these numbers tell us? That the job market is competitive and having a degree might not provide the edge it once did. Thankfully, someone invented the “internship”—a handy-dandy way of getting a leg up on other job applicants.
An internship is a snapshot of the real world and a glimpse into what life might be like in the workforce. But beyond that, it’s also an opportunity for the intern to gain insight into what a particular job is like. More importantly, it’s a chance for employees to get to know the intern, and determine whether or not the intern is employee material.
For this reason, it’s imperative that the intern shine with the brightness of a thousand burning suns. Here, then, are ten ways to reap the benefits of an internship.
10 Ways to Make the Most Out of an Internship
1. Create a positive impression at work. Adhere to the office dress code.
Be relentlessly punctual, be organized, and be willing to take on more work than is required of you. Doing these things will help you bring in positive energy into the office.
2. When assigned a project, accept it with energy and eagerness, and be prepared to deliver excellent results.
Asked to create a presentation for next Monday’s meeting? Submit the presentation at the earliest possible time. This gives you and your supervisor ample time to fine-tune the presentation.
3. During discussions and meetings, step up by asking intelligent questions, pitching ideas and sharing insights.
Your insight may just be the fresh perspective the team is looking for.
4. Not all projects and tasks assigned to you are resumé builders. Accept and work diligently on all tasks—no matter how mundane you think they are.
Asked to book a conference room for a meeting? Go the extra mile, and check with your supervisor if you can also send the meeting invites yourself.
5. One of the benefits of doing an internship is the opportunity to learn on the job.
Offer to sit in on meetings. If minutes need to be taken, volunteer for the task. These meetings are perfect venues for you to learn more about the roles of your coworkers, the company’s numbers, and the industry jargon.
6. Collaborate with employees and ask your supervisor if you can join projects.
You can learn real-life industry concepts from these experienced employees.
7. Seek advice and feedback as often as you can.
Try to intentionally find a mentor within the organization who can guide you on your internship journey and, possibly, during the course of your career. Finding a mentor early on can be one of the profound benefits of an internship.
8. Make your one-on-one with your supervisor count.
Set goals, and keep your supervisor looped in on your challenges and achievements. It will be best to keep a log of your tasks, progress, and accomplishments. Your records will be an excellent reference for these one-on-one meetings.
9. Network and connect with people from different teams and various levels in the organization.
One way to do this is by being present in company events and activities. Interact and talk with the members of the management team. This opportunity will help you harness your informational interviewing skills. Likewise, learning how to carry yourself around colleagues outside of work—as well as inside the office—can count as one of the benefits.
10. At the end of your internship, remember to thank everyone you have worked with personally.
As you do so, take the opportunity to ask for references for your future job hunt. Gaining solid personal references is one of the great benefits of an internship.
Go Bold Beyond Having a Bachelor’s Degree
While it is true that a college degree can be vital in achieving one’s career aspirations, the exposure and experience one can obtain from an internship program will help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Remember that besides competing with other fresh graduates, there are those candidates who have years of experience tucked under their belts. Having an internship can help a fresh graduate compete with the more experienced candidates.
Additionally, the benefits of an internship extend to employers, too. Companies establish internship programs as a way to “try out” potential employees. For management, this case is a foolproof way of checking if a candidate is “culture fit”, an excellent worker, and worth investing in in the long run.
By recognizing the benefits of an internship early on, you are giving your career a significant boost.