Hear from Hayley at Gradbloom about how to make the most out of your internship.
If you’re reading this because you’ve bagged yourself an internship or placement, well done! We all know employers prefer to hire graduates with demonstrated work experience, so how can you make sure you maximise this opportunity?
I’m Hayley, founder of Gradbloom and as a former intern recruiter for a global company, I know what makes the difference between a good and bad intern! Keep reading to learn how to impress your employer, as well as making sure it’s a valuable learning experience for you too.
1. Set measurable goals
If you go into your internship knowing what it is you want to get out of it, you’ll be way more likely to have a positive experience. Make a list, making sure your goals are measurable, with ideas for how you are going to ensure you meet them. A goal could be anything from wanting to improve your excel skills to deepening your knowledge of something relevant to your industry. It will be useful for your manager to understand what motivates you, and shows you are taking your internship seriously. Note down your progress halfway through your internship, so that you have enough time to get things back on track if necessary. Don’t be scared to ask for a mid-point review to get feedback from your mentor or manager. You don’t want to get to the end of your internship and feel regret or like you could have done more.
2. Network, network, network
Internships are fleeting, so make sure you hit the ground running and take every opportunity to meet other colleagues across the business at all levels of seniority. You might feel a little shy, but go to meetings and events, introduce yourself, and make connections. Make sure you’ve got your LinkedIn profile set up and complete before your internship starts so that you’re ready to start connecting with your new contacts. As you’ve probably heard a million times, when it comes to jobs, who you know really matters. You never know who you may cross paths with in your future career, or who might move companies and be able to put in a good word for you there.
3. Be pro-active
Speaking from personal experience of hiring interns, I can honestly say the most memorable hires were the ones who went the extra mile and took their own initiative. Their pro-active nature got them noticed for the right reasons! Your manager and colleagues are busy people and won’t always have time to allocate you tasks. Don’t always wait to be asked if you can help with something either. If you’re having a quiet day, offer to help out or ask if there’s another team who could do with an extra pair of hands. This not only makes you look good, but you’ll gain exposure to new areas of the business and broaden your industry knowledge. Make yourself invaluable and you could even be offered a graduate role, or at least ensure you’re leaving with a glowing reference.
4. Record your achievements
Make sure you document the skills you have learned and developed and tangible achievements from your time as an intern. You’ll be so glad you did when it comes to preparing for your next interview and you have concrete examples to use to shape your answers. Be as specific as possible. For example, perhaps you wrote content for a blog or social media – how many hits did the blog get? How did this impact follower count? It’s also good to reflect on things that didn’t go so well – what would you do differently next time? You should also update your CV and LinkedIn profile with your new experience while it’s fresh.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy it! Be positive and open-minded, even if it’s not quite the dream job it may have appeared on paper, you’re still developing skills, building your network and learning what you do and don’t want from your next job.
Most graduates do not finish their degrees equipped with the employability skills and knowledge they need to make it in the real world, however, you only get one chance to make a first impression on an employer. Enter Gradbloom! Recently founded by me, Hayley, to provide resources and services to help students and graduates navigate the murky world of job hunting.