The graduate job market is crowded. Many employers avoid hiring graduates since they lack the necessary experience to guarantee adding value to their business. At Inspiring Interns, we believe that an internship will help you stand out in the job market, as with some relevant work experience and industry know-how you will be able to demonstrate to a potential employer that you can add value to their business. For this article, we’ve imagined that you’ve secured an internship position and come up with eight steps that should help you towards becoming an awesome intern.
Before you begin your internship, prepare! Learn about the company (check out their website, social media channels and look up news stories on the company) and find out who your mentor will be. You should also find out what you should wear on your first day and how to get there. Doing all you can to eliminate first day nerves will really help you start on the right foot.
2. Be yourself
Harder than it sounds when you’ve got a limited time to impress a group of people you (probably) don’t know but try and relax, do your best and enjoy yourself!
An internship isn’t all about work! Make friends with your colleagues, go for lunch with as many work mates as possible, and head to drinks after work if you’re invited. When you meet new people, shake their hand firmly and remember their name. Internships are as much about making friends and contacts across the business as they are learning new skills and earning yourself a job.
4. Show your passion
Hopefully you’re passionate about starting your career and now that you’ve landed an internship, it’s time to bring that passion to the workplace. Smile; show interest in your work and the work of your colleagues; and where possible demonstrate your knowledge.
5. Ask questions
Learning is what internships are all about, so absorb everything that is thrown at you and a little bit more. Think of an internship as your workplace education – read up on new subjects and don’t be afraid to ask questions if necessary. As an intern, you should be assigned a mentor who you will be able to grill (at the appropriate times!) if everyone else looks busy.
6. Be proactive
If you find yourself at a loose end for any reason, don’t just mess around on Facebook or check your emails – ask for things to do. Outside of the workplace, keep an internship diary. Record new things you have learnt and people you have met. This will help you to consolidate your knowledge and will help you in your final meeting.
7. Be consistent
A consistently strong performance in the workplace will most likely lead to you earning a full-time job offer. Concentrate on staying healthy (where possible! Be honest if you are unwell), avoid hangovers and always give 100%. Work hard and make your internship count!
8. Stay in touch
Before your internship ends, set up a final meeting with your mentor prior to talk through your internship and receive any feedback your mentor has for you. If, for any reason, you are not offered a full-time job or perhaps the role isn’t quite right for you, ask for a detailed reference. Find out if any of your new contacts know of any potential opportunities elsewhere. And make sure you stay in touch with your colleagues; even if there is no opportunity for you now, there may well be in the future.
This article was written by Alex Townley on behalf of Inspiring Interns. Inspiring specialises in finding graduates internships in London and throughout the UK. Of the graduates they find internships, 66% earn themselves a permanent job with their host company.