Doing an internship for the first time can be a wonderful, but stressful experience. It is a unique opportunity to get work experience while still in school studying, and gives an insight into the work environment. Getting an internship requires work and good preparation, from the application to the last day. Here are some tips on how to become a successful intern:
Finding the internship that is right for you
Do you want to be a doctor? Then an internship in marketing might not be your thing. Finding the right internship is key. Of course, most would say that any internship is better than no internship due to the valuable work experience, but that does not mean that you should not try to find something that fits your own interest. There are several types of internships. You can do summer internships which can last between two weeks and three months. There are paid and unpaid internships, unpaid internships are more usual for high school students, while students and undergraduates are more likely to get paid internships.
Writing the cover letter
Read the requirements. Be sure to show how your skills and achievements are applicable to the situation. Do you regularly write a blog and want to work in copywriting? Did you participate in a regional or national math challenge and want to work in finance? This is the time to show it! Modesty won’t get you anywhere. However, it’s important that your skills are relevant to the job. It might be super cool that you’re a national champion in rock climbing, but this is not applicable for an internship in finance. It’s also good to get a second opinion. Ask a parent, guidance counselor or anyone else you think will be able to give you good feedback.
If you’re able to get an interview there are some things to remember. Firstly, know the details of the internship, and the company that offers it. The interviewer will not be impressed if you end up asking questions that you should know the answer to. However, if you have more questions regarding the tasks you might get or the type of work you will be involved in, this is the time to ask it. Additionally, having some knowledge of the company or corporation you might work for will show you are already dedicated and you’re willing to go past the bare minimum. This is also a place to show your interest and knowledge regarding the type of internship.
Take notes on the basic information about your internship. When it begins and ends, the working hours, and any other specific requirements such as dress code and other office policies. If you’re traveling to a different city or country, make sure to pack clothes that fit the dress code and weather. Know the basics of your internship. Does your internship require you to work with documents or spreadsheets? Make sure you know the essentials on how to use and navigate these sites. Lastly, make sure you have the details in order. Does your internship require you to fly in? Do you have accommodation? Are you commuting? Know which train/bus to take? These are details that are best not left to last minute.
During your stay
Don’t be late! Making a good first impression is important. Give yourself an extra 20 minutes the first day if you’re unsure about the route you need to take, that way, you will still have time if you get lost. The first day might be overwhelming. You will be in a completely new environment, meet new people, and possibly learn new skills – all in one day.
Ask questions! You are there to learn, and following your supervisor around only gets you so far. Asking questions is the fastest way to learn and pick up new skills.
Show you can do what you are asked to do. If you are able to get something to work on independently, whether it’s proofreading, research or similar, show people you are able to do it, and within the given time frame. It’s important to show you’re hard working and independent.
Lastly, don’t complain. If you’re only getting tasks such as getting coffee or sorting files, that’s just how it is. It’s not always possible to make your day fun and dynamic, your supervisor has a job and sometimes the intern is stuck with the ‘boring stuff’.
All in all, enjoy your internship experience and most importantly, have fun!
Students at EF Academy are always looking for new opportunities to learn and push themselves forward.