Internships are not just for coffee runs and busy work.
They should be used to increase your knowledge of your chosen career path. Landing an internship somewhere in your desired field is a great way to see how a company works first-hand. An internship can also help you decide if the route you have chosen is right for you.
With help from specialists at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Academic & Career Development Center, we’ve put together 5 “need-to-knows,” to help you take full advantage of the opportunities internships offer.
Get to know your coworkers! Demonstrate your willingness to learn more about the company by taking time to shadow people outside your department. Ask them how long they’ve been there, what they studied in college, what they like and dislike about their job, etc. Building internal relationships within your company not only makes for stronger communications and resources, it can grant you some quality community contacts as well.
Sometimes a new work place can seem intimidating; however, you will never grow and develop your skills if you are too shy to put yourself out there.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether you need clarification on completing a project or want to learn more about how your supervisor got into their career, internships are the perfect time to ask questions to expand your knowledge,” said Katie Wessel, Assistant Director, Career Advising, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Take Calculated Chances
“Don’t shy away from drafting that press release because you don’t know what a press release is. Instead, use the internship to take on new projects and opportunities. Chances are the project won’t be perfect on the first attempt (or possibly the second), but the process and feedback received will serve you well for future successes,” said Joe Hayes, Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Internships, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Applying what you’ve learned in the classroom to the real world is something you can only do on the job. So you may make a few mistakes- don’t sweat it! Gracefully absorb feedback and use it to sharpen your skills.
“Showing you have an open mind, drive and a positive attitude will enhance your opportunity for future permanent employment,” said Jolene Adams, Academic and Career Advisor, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Employers pay attention to people who want to work. Whether you volunteer for an extra project, work well with your team or are just pleasant to be around – they take note. If you push yourself to go that extra mile, you’ll be sure to get that promotion in no time.
Be confident in applying what you’ve learned in the classroom. If you know of a different solution or a more practical way of doing something, suggest it! If you are getting close to graduation or have graduated in the last few years, you have had an entirely different resource pool than your coworkers. Share what you know; you’ll be glad you did!