An internship is a valuable learning experience for early career professionals to explore career paths, practice what it’s like to work in various industries and environments and build up your resume to help you get closer to your dream job and career goals.
Personal Brand & Networking: An internship provides an opportunity to build relationships with professionals in your field. Take advantage of this by going beyond the day-to-day in your job and connecting with colleagues, managers, and other industry leaders. These connections can be valuable resources for the current role whenever you are stuck, as well as in future job opportunities. Your personal network is your secret sauce to building personal capital the remainder of your career.
Skill Development: During an internship, you will likely have the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing ones. Be sure to take advantage of this by actively seeking out new challenges and taking on responsibilities. This will help you build a diverse skill set that will be beneficial in your next role.
Industry Knowledge: An internship provides an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the industry you are working in. Take the time to learn about the trends, technologies, and best practices that are shaping the industry and take the time to consider if this is the right path for you. Do you like what you are learning and where you see the industry growing in the coming years?
Professional Basics and Work Ethic: Use this time to practice enhancing your professional demeanor and how you overall show up in the workplace. Take the time to learn about the company culture and the expectations for your role - if you do not understand, ask! And to show up as professionally as possible it is important to: be punctual, reliable, and willing to go above and beyond what is expected of you. These habits will serve you well to show up as a stellar employee and walk away with not just a great experience, but also higher likelihood of a job offer or good recommendation letter.
Reviews & Wrap Ups: As much as you are providing value to the organization in your internship, make sure you walk into the role with a clear understanding of what you hope to get out of it as well. Treat your internship as a learning experience and take as much from it as possible, every step of the way and be transparent with your manager about your goals. Be sure to ask for feedback from your manager and colleagues, as you work together towards these goals. Use the feedback to clearly understand areas for improvement and collectively create plans for how to improve on these areas.
Overall, an internship experience has the opportunity to be an incredible opportunity that can help you grow both personally and professionally. By networking, developing new skills, gaining industry knowledge, developing professionalism and work ethic, and seeking feedback, you will be well-prepared for your future.