At Doc Wayne Youth Services, interns play a variety of important roles on our team. Doc Wayne interns past and present put together a helpful tip sheet to share with others as they navigate their new and exciting experiences.
In this day and age, it seems as if internships are necessary in order to secure jobs upon graduating from college. Students are moving towards entering their chosen work fields early to gain experience. In fact, many schools require students to complete at least one internship before graduation. Although this may seem daunting to young college students, here are a few tips for a successful internship.
- Research the company or organization before you step foot in the office. Not only will this help you transition more quickly, but your co-workers will be pleased that you are invested in your work and know what the organization is all about.
- Be Professional. Always act in a professional manner while at your internship. Follow the dress code and always complete tasks assigned to you. By practicing professionalism during your internship, you will form strong work habits for future jobs.
- It is okay to make a mistake. Do not be afraid to make a mistake. Always do your best, but mistakes are bound to happen while you are learning. If you make a mistake, use it as an opportunity to learn from it.
- Ask questions. If you are confused about a project, email, meeting, etc. ask someone for help. It is better to reach out and have your question answered. If there is a meeting you want to attend or a project you want to work on, speak up and ask your supervisor. Remember you are an intern. You are there to learn and are not expected to know everything.
- Be willing to learn new things. Internships are learning opportunities to help you further develop skills and prepare for future jobs. If you are interested in learning about a new program on the computer or trying something new, ask your supervisor. Be proactive and see if your supervisor needs help with a project. Your supervisors are there to help you learn, so make the most of your internship.
- Get to know your co-workers. Even though you are only working for the length of an internship, you have plenty of time to get to know the people working around you. Eat lunch with them. Ask questions about their careers. You can learn from people’s experiences and form strong connections that will help you network going forward.
- Record all of the work that you complete. Chances are that you will be doing a lot of different projects throughout the internship, so make a document to keep track of everything. That way, if a future employer asks what your internship entailed, you will be able to give them specific examples.
- Make the most out of your internship. This is a learning experience for you to develop a better understanding of your field. Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings if you have an idea or ask questions if you are unclear of something. Take advantage of every opportunity you are given. You never know how it could help you in the future.
- Tim McGraw said it perfectly… Always stay humble and kind. Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is probably the easiest tip, but also one of the most important.
And finally, remember that this is just an internship. It is not the only job that you will have in your lifetime. Give the internship your full effort for however long you are placed. At the end of your experience, reflect on the positives and negatives, so that the next internship/ job you have will be even more aligned with your interests.