Internships can be the gateway to finding your true calling or landing that dream job. But unfortunately internships can also feel like a useless waste of time if you don’t establish goals ahead of time and be proactive in getting the most out of your internship. Sometimes you have to push to get the type of exposure and experience you want out of your internship.
Some internships provide actual job descriptions with a list of duties and responsibilities for the intern; however many internships aren’t that structured and you’ll end up getting more out of your internship if you set clear goals you want to accomplish throughout your time. Make personal goals for yourself such as gaining exposure to certain aspects of the company or department, deciding which area you’d like to specialize in, learning research skills, building relationships with staff, attending meetings, etc. Try to set out goals before you start the internship and go back and evaluate them a few weeks after you start to make sure you stay on track to accomplish them. Make sure to keep track of the projects you’ve worked on and skills developed to translate them into accomplishments on your resume.
Internships are about broadening your horizons and gaining exposure to a particular career. An internship may help you solidify your career goals, or help you to realize a job isn’t for you. Be sure to keep an open mind during your internship to learn new things and discover the aspects of the job you like and dislike. You may learn that the dream job you’ve always wanted looks a lot different in reality, or learn about a job title in the field you didn’t realize existed before.
It’s important to set up a time to meet regularly with your supervisor. You don’t want to take up too much of their time, as they’re probably busy people, however you want to be able to share things you’re working on, give progress reports and be able to ask any questions you have or clarification you need. Your supervisor can be a good resource for you in the future if you build a good relationship with them during your time.
It’s true that sometimes intern tasks can seem like dummy work. If you’re going to advance to assisting with bigger projects during your time though, you need to perfect these little tasks first to prove your reliability and competence. Once you demonstrate success doing small things efficiently, you can open up the possibility for handling larger projects.
Internships are often a student’s first opportunity to network with professionals in their career field. Take your internships seriously and try to meet employees, ask questions and build relationships. Aside from making your internship more enjoyable, the relationships you build during your internship can be helpful career resources in the future.
About the Author: Amanda Ryan is a Program Development Associate & Senior Resume Writer at RedStarResume. Amanda is a highly skilled resume writing expert and career expert who also specialises in creating, writing and developing career content, working alongside student and graduate job seekers and developing career content for newsletters, partners and career websites.
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