As you head into the second half of your college education, all of those prerequisites are behind you and it is time to turn your attention to your future career. One of the best ways to gain some experience within that career and to pad your resume for future job opportunities is to work for a company as an intern. While internships are incredibly competitive and you’ll definitely have to work extremely hard to balance the requirements of the job with your school work, the rewards make it well worth your time. But you have to make sure you take full advantage of the opportunity while you are there. That internship will pass quickly, and you must both make an impression on your supervisor and take in as much as you can. Here are five things you can learn from an internship when you apply yourself.
The first thing is probably the most important, and that is the front seat you will get to your potential future career. Most interns work for companies and in departments doing something related to what they’d like to pursue after school, and having a chance to watch professionals at the top of their game is incredibly valuable. Studying a subject in college and working to apply it in the real world are vastly different things, and the last thing you want is to work hard for a degree only to find that you hate the career you’ve chosen. Use the internship to see what it’s really like, and then you’ll know what you’re in for when you apply to a paid job.
While at an internship you’ll have the chance to show your direct supervisor what you can do, and for many students this is the first time they’ve had to impress a work supervisor. If you’ve never held a job before now, this will be doubly important. Interacting with senior management is very important, and if you hope to rise on the corporate ladder, you’ll need to become an expert at it. Do your job right, and you’ll leave the internship with a great written recommendation on top that experience.
Impressing your supervisor is important, but working as a part of a team is even more important. If you intern in a medium or large business you’ll find yourself dropped in the middle of a busy department. You must get along with the rest of the team. Finding a way to come together as a unit will take time, and the quicker you can make that happen, the better off everyone will be. It is the good team players that make the strongest impact. And if the full-time staff loves you, you might end up receiving an offer for employment after graduation.
You will also be faced with a lot of deadlines, and you will be expected to hit them at your new internship. You’ll have the overall deadline of the length of your internship, and that is a finite amount of time to impress and land that all-important recommendation. You’ll also be given project deadlines as well. And while you’re probably used to that schedule at school, it will feel much different when it is for a job. The more adept you are at reaching or even beating those deadlines, the more you’ll be seen as a problem-solver. And that is another chance for you to prove you are worthy of further important.
The final key opportunity you’ll receive while interning is becoming adept at multitasking. You’ll have a long to-do list at the internship that you will have to balance with your educational requirements. Add on top of that a social life, time to exercise and to somehow also have some time for yourself and you’ll probably push multitasking further than ever before. But getting outside of your comfort zone in such a way will make you think of solutions. Perhaps you pick up an online tutor to help overcome the lack of study time. Maybe you can find work out buddies at the internship. You’ll budget your time tighter than ever before, and become more successful because of it.