Recently the CAE Career Community had an event providing tips on how to succeed at your internship hosted by Career Consultant Julia Driscoll. The event provided great insights and advice into how to make the most of your internship such that you develop both personally and professionally. Here are some of the primary takeaways:
- Find a mixture of learning & working – It is important to find a balance between learning and working so you learn new skills while also having the time to apply them in the professional setting. Some of the key components of learning is the ability to listen as well as ask questions. It is usually best to stick to 90% listening and 10% asking questions to absorb as much new material as possible. Also, be sure to understand the context of your work, set expectations based on the job description, and seek consistent feedback in order to excel in your work as well as understand your role. By clarifying the details of your work, you will be able to allocate your time so you can find a mixture of learning and working in your internship.
- Build Relationships – An internship offers a great opportunity to grow your professional network and learn more about various career paths in the field you are interested in. I encourage you to learn how other people do their job and schedule informational interviews with other colleagues to better understand the different facets of the organization/company or industry. It is also important to connect with fellow interns and exchange contact info as well as connect on LinkedIn to continue growing a professional network among your peers.
- Set Goals – It is critical to set goals for yourself and with your supervisor. This will provide clear objectives and communicate expectations with your supervisor. Additionally, as you learn and grow in your position create new goals to continue challenging yourself and expanding your knowledge base. You can demonstrate initiative by setting goals that take on new opportunities or tasks that advance your personal development and the work of the employer. Additionally, be sure to track your development as you work toward your goals so you can demonstrate accomplishments and impact following your experience.
- Commitment – As you navigate the workplace environment, find areas you can exercise your strengths/skills and commit yourself to that task to complete it thoroughly as well as professionally. Even if a task isn’t glamorous, still maintain professionalism and commit to doing it well. Also recognize that it is okay to fail as everyone makes mistakes as they are learning. You can display your commitment by taking ownership of the mistake and learning for the future.