Many employers who offer internships do so as a way to try out and recruit new full-time employees. Even though internships are a way for students to gain experience and learn more about a specific career field of interest, they are also a way for organizations to try out individuals and decide how well they fit within the overall culture of the organization.
As an intern it is your responsibility to show your supervisor and others within the organization that you have what it takes, both personally and professionally, to fit in with the corporate culture. Taking time to learn about the mission of the organization and what it values in its employees, can provide essential information on how they identify and define success.
- Develop Professional Goals.
Identifying your professional goals and finding a rewarding internship that meets your expectations will be more beneficial to your skill development and future career aspirations than accepting just any internship that’s available. Internships are designed to prepare applicants for future jobs and careers; and finding an internship that will help you accomplish your professional goals will also assist you in being a more competitive candidate in your future job search.
- Develop a Strong Relationship With Your Supervisor.
Be sure to keep your supervisor abreast of your work and accomplishments by checking in frequently and making sure you are meeting his/her expectations. Once you have identified your job responsibilities and you understand your supervisor’s expectations, work hard to demonstrate your personal initiative and your ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Developing professional connections as an intern will give you a head start in developing a professional network.
- Develop a Strong Work Ethic.
Establishing a willingness to get the work done at all costs while maintaining a positive attitude gives the employer confidence that you will become a valuable member of the team if hired as an employee.
- Complete Assigned Projects on Time.
If you foresee a challenge with a deadline on a project you are working on, make sure you notify your supervisor and ask for any input he/she might provide or ask for an extension to get the project completed. Be sure that you offer a valid reason for the project delay such as other unforeseen problems or other work priorities that needed to be addressed prior to getting the specific project completed on time.
- Always Follow Company Rules and Established Guidelines.
Becoming part of the corporate culture includes learning the established dress code of the corporation. It also means learning time allotted and what’s expected for established lunch periods and breaks. Take your time to learn the rules and guidelines expected by the organization before jumping in and making any serious mistakes.
- Seek Input From Supervisor and Colleagues on Your Job Performance.
Communicating with employers on your job performance will provide an opportunity for you to improve and make the necessary changes during the course of your internship. This input can be crucial in helping you to improve your job performance through clarification of the supervisor’s expectations. Problems can often be avoided once expectations have been openly communicated and everyone is clearly on the same page.
- Tackle Easy, Repetitive Tasks with Enthusiasm.
The employer will trust you to complete more difficult tasks once they recognize your ability to handle the small stuff. Asking for additional and more challenging work will be accepted more positively by an employer if you’ve accepted responsibility for the more tedious tasks that are required to do the job on a daily basis.
- Identify Issues Not Currently Being Addressed by the Organization.
You can offer your insight on problems you identify and discuss how you might solve that problem or fill that need within the company. Employers seek people who can think out of the box and identify solutions to current problems that management may not have yet identified or addressed. Be prepared to offer solutions that you think might work to solve a specific problem or situation.
- Show Initiative.
Illustrating your interest in developing new knowledge and skills relevant to the position will boost the employers confidence in your willingness and initiative to do a good job. Showing enthusiasm and offering to attend workshops or seminars will increase your understanding of the business and will make a favourable impression on your supervisor.
- Ask for Additional Work.
If you do not have enough work to do, be sure to check with your supervisor to see if he/she has any additional work that they can provide you with. If not, check to see if you can assist others in getting their work completed which may also teach you new skills in the process.