Internships are about networking; you must stand out from the crowd and not be afraid to introduce yourself to senior figures. It is important that you make a good and memorable impression on these people, as they may be able to help you out later, in terms of contacts or references. A well-known, albeit unfair, statement in the world of work is that success is dependent on who you know rather than what you know.
There has been much debate in recent years over the legitimacy of internships, with accusations that the position of desperate young graduates and students, looking for experience and/or work is being abused by companies trying to cut costs. With this in mind, you must be wary that you are not being taken advantage of; if the company is not paying you, they should being paying for your expenses, i.e. your travel and/or lunch costs.
- Leave With A Letter Of Reference
Being able to go on to further applications with a strong letter of reference from your experience is extremely important and could be an influential factor for the next potential employer. Do not wait until your last day to ask your superior for a letter of reference, you may never get one. It is best to ask at the start of the week before you leave, with a reminder mid-week. Another way to be sure your request will not be forgotten is to email it instead of or as well as asking in person.
- Stay In Touch
A week or two after your internship comes to an end send an email to thank them for the experience you acquired and for the glowing reference you will surely have received. Let them know that you are applying for jobs similar to the role you were in for them. If you are getting nowhere with your job applications, contact them to see if they have heard of any positions opening up. Do not worry about feeling as though you are being a pest, even if you are it will only give them more reason to help you find a job elsewhere.
- See Every Position As An Opportunity
Covering maternity leave is somewhat similar to an internship. Often, new mothers are interested in a job share agreement or decide that they do not want to go back to work for a time. When this happens, these are the types of positions that are mostly filled internally. It is far easier for a company to extend the contract of the person filling the position already, rather than spending time and money on recruitment.
- Become Irreplaceable
There are two things that you can do to achieve this status, firstly take on more than you are asked, which means more than just taking initiative; and secondly bring a certain level of positivity and enthusiasm with you to work. Employers notice a difference in the person who only shows up each day to clock in, do as they are told, clock out and wait for their paycheck, and the person who clearly wants to be at work and enjoys their job. If you happily take on a number of tasks, you will find that in the process you are also gaining responsibility within a company; which means that when decisions need to be made, you will be one of the people who can have an input. Bring your personality to work with you, don’t allow yourself to become an office drone and be lost in the crowd; this will have an encouraging impact on the other people you work with, as well as bringing positivity to your own outlook on your job. Positive people are infectious; they make a workplace more enjoyable and productive. These are the people that employers want to keep around, the people whose absence leaves a hole. This holds true for internships as much as it does for full time employment.
By following these few guidelines with regard to internships and your working life in general, you may find that your employers are keen to keep you around. The two key aspects of internships are networking and experience; these should be your goals to get the most out of an internship position. These two elements actually interlink, in the sense that if you are enthusiastic and interested in learning all the things you are shown by the people or person that is mentoring you, they are more likely to want to help you out with contacts or insider information on upcoming openings within the industry.