In the past, internships were thought of as something to be checked off the list of requirements for a college degree. Today, however, the job market is more competitive than ever and internships have transformed into vital avenues for gaining relevant experience, networking, and getting a foot in the door with a respected company in your field. In fact, even seasoned professionals looking to switch careers are looking for internships in today’s job market, not just college students and recent grads.
Here are five tips to prepare for a summer internship - and make your mark.
Study! Take time to learn about the company and the industry. Review the company’s website to learn about its mission, employees, values, services, and products, then find the company’s profile on LinkedIn. Once you know more about the company, dive into the industry. Read the most respected trade journals and take note of the major trends, topics, and industry thought leaders. Build a solid knowledge base for yourself to prepare for the first day in the office. Use what you’ve learned to communicate more clearly with supervisors and employees.
Cultivate your digital footprint. What comes up when a potential employer or internship coordinator searches for you online? Your digital footprint is more important than ever in today’s technologically advanced age. Nearly everything you do online is just one small search away - so make sure it’s positive! Change privacy settings on social media networks to protect the profiles you want to stay private and write compelling, professional bios on the sites you want people to see. Make regular updates to public profiles and share your portfolio online. Let potential employers see what you have to offer. Always remember that everything you do online has the potential to be seen by someone who may later have control over your internship or job search. Remain professional at all times.
Say yes. Companies that bring on interns probably need help. Don’t be afraid to offer your assistance, even if it’s just picking up lunch for the team. Your supervisor will appreciate your pro-active attitude and your dedication to teamwork. You may feel that some tasks are beneath your skill level, but don’t reject them. Take these tasks on and knock them out of the park. As you become a more trusted member of the team, you’ll be given more responsibilities.
Find a mentor. One of the more important aspects of your internship will be networking and finding a mentor that can guide you along, teaching you the ins and outs of the industry as you go. Having a mentor will better allow you to get the “behind the scenes” scoop on the company and industry as well as give you an insight into office politics. A good mentor can encourage you and help you learn what you’ll need to take the next big step in your career. If you find a person in the company that you respect and have a good working relationship with, ask them if they’ll mentor you during your internship. Having someone you can trust and go to for advice will make a big difference.
Take notes and ask questions. Let people know that this opportunity is important to you. Bring a notepad and paper (or laptop/tablet, depending on the company) to every meeting and keep track of important notes or insights. Also, when you don’t understand something or want to learn more, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions at the start of a project is preferred to working with misinterpreted information.
Do you have any tips for standing out in a new work environment? Share them with us! While Equis doesn’t help people find internships, these tips are important to keep in mind – even for job seekers. Making a good first impression is key in any professional setting.
If you are looking to hire an IT, Accounting, or Finance professional, or work in any of those fields and looking to advance your career, you can contact Equis Staffing via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (818) 444-0100.