Internships and co-ops are incredible opportunities for students to get a glimpse of what it’s like being in the workforce. Yes, most interns will go into their co-ops in different industries and leave with different experiences than others, but the knowledge and experience gained from each placement is invaluable.
If you are heading into your first internship, there are some habits that you should start developing now, that will help you in the long run. As someone who just completed a 3-month work term myself, there are a few things I have learned that you can use to help enhance your overall experience.
1.) Be On Time!
This is a no-brainer, but employers hate when workers come in late. It can leave a bad impression early on and can leave your employer doubting your time management skills. Set multiple alarms if you have to and listen to traffic reports so you know the best way to commute to work. If you want to make a great impression, aim to arrive at work early and put in a full day.
2.) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Whenever you’re in doubt about a task or questioning if you’re doing it correctly, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. The worst thing you can do is continue with a task that you’re not confident with. Your employer will respect you more if you ask for help and get the job done right, rather than working independently and attempting to ‘wing it,’ with the end result missing the mark entirely.
3.) Be Willing To Learn More
If an internship is anything like mine was, then you will have the opportunity to take on more responsibilities than what you were originally hired for. At the beginning, I was only responsible for social media tasks, but as my placement progressed I was assisting with the creation of websites for clients and sitting in on client meetings. If you are given the opportunity to take part in more responsibilities, say yes! After all, the purpose of your internship is to learn as much as possible about the business and the industry.
4.) Accept Mistakes And Learn From Them
We all make them. Mistakes can happen to anyone at any time, so don’t worry if you make a few. If you are aware that you made an error, make the necessary adjustment and figure out why/how it happened. However, if you’ve already submitted it to your employer, let them know immediately so they can go over it with you to correct it. Don’t let mistakes make you think it will be the end of your internship. Relax, that’s what you’re there for. You’re there to learn about the business and develop yourself, which means there will be a few mistakes along the way.
5.) Have Fun With The Experience
Even though you’re working, that doesn’t have to stop you from being social and having a few laughs with coworkers. After all, you’re there to see what the workplace is like, so it’s not uncommon to have friendly conversations with the people you work with. There are many positives that come from being a little social at work, for example, taking short breaks from work to refresh your mind, making new connections, sharing ideas, and more.
The purposes of internships are for you to gain experience in the workforce, and develop your skills to further prepare you for school, and for the industry. They’re amazing opportunities for you to also make new connections, try out new skills, and develop current talents.
If you have the opportunity to apply for an internship, future you will greatly appreciate it. I highly recommend it.