By Shannon Looney, July 25 2018
Starting an internship comes with a lot of new tasks and challenges that can initially seem overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to realize what would make this professional experience the most worthwhile, when it’s all so new. That is why having good habits in place will help you to hit the ground running. If the beginning of your internship is on the horizon, you’re mid-way through, or are about to finish one, there is always opportunity to make sure you are making your placement a success.
1. Begin With the End in Mind
There is a lot of excitement when it comes to landing your first internship, however, you can’t celebrate too early - this is the time to get working towards making it a success! To do so, you’ll need to think about your beginning, middle, and end goals. Walking in to your office on the first day with an idea of how you’ll maximize the resources and people you now have access to will ensure you walk out on your last day having made the absolute most of your time there.
My best advice when it comes to preparing yourself before, during, and after your internship is to write it all down! Listing your goals and intentions for this experience makes it easier to visualize and put a plan into action! What you want to accomplish by the end of your internship could include finding a professional mentor, completing a project you can add to your resume, and gaining more knowledge about a specific department in your company. Another tip is to review the goals you have every week to make sure that you are achieving what you set out to.
3. Manage Your Time
Managing your time is essential. It displays professionalism, and is of benefit to you and those around you-so why wouldn’t you make this a habit? Sometimes it can be challenging to prioritize time, deadlines, and meetings, but with the help of physical planners, or an online calendar, paired with your diligence, you’ll be a sure success!
It is also important to note that online calendars are common in the workplace, so introducing yourself to them prior to your internship will be to your advantage. From my experience in the workplace, it was the avenue for communicating your schedule to work colleagues, as well as organizing meetings with people. Overall, time management will reduces stress, help you to keep on top of your day and accomplish more with less effort.
3. Stay Organized
Sometimes, as an intern, it can be overwhelming to take in all of the new information, people and processes you are introduced to. This is where the value of staying organized is best felt. Decluttering your mental and physical space will allow you to think and act more clearly. Using a day planner and keeping your desk clean will give you an excellent platform for success!
Staying organized doesn’t only benefit you whilst you are in the office, but also off it. It’s important to be organized, even after hours, because for a successful internship you need to be your best self. Whatever helps you decompress after a day with your host company, whether it be sitting in your favorite park, going to the gym, or reading a book, it is important to schedule some ‘me’ time. When you are your best self you give yourself the best chance of success!
4. Be Observant
Although I believe that questions are always an important aspect to any learning experience, observation should come first. You can learn a lot just by watching. The mannerisms of your supervisor, the culture of your company, or even how to master the fax machine! When you are observant you are attentive to the inner workings of a company. If you use your initiative you can turn these observations into new projects. See what is missing and propose solutions to things that aren’t working.
Each company you intern with, and every person you work alongside will have their own way of doing things. Observing this quirks and acting accordingly will ensure a more rewarding internship.
5. Be Resourceful
You should never be afraid to ask for advice from those around you, however as the age old saying goes, time is money. Unnecessary questions to your supervisor and colleagues will only serve to frustrate them, especially when the answer is easily found elsewhere.
The solution? Be resourceful! During my time as an intern, I would often turn to Google, asking other interns, or use trial and error to answer those questions that I knew my manager didn’t have the time to answer. It is important to be resourceful as an intern because a lot of your questions can easily be answered yourself. Being resourceful will add to your own feeling of accomplishment and displays initiative.
Habits are part of the foundation to who we are. They are easy ways to display positive attributes to those around you and put you on the road to success. When starting out at a new internship it is important to put your best foot forward. The actions that you turn into habits, and foster will decide how successful you become. Try incorporating the above habits into your day to day life and see what benefits follow!