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How to make the most out of your internship; 11 simple tips.

The internship period moves swiftly, but if you are well prepared from the first day, you will be able to siphon a pool of knowledge from the experts.  

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The internship period moves swiftly, but if you are well prepared from the first day, you will be able to siphon a pool of knowledge from the experts.  

Photo credit: Christ Geremie

An internship is often the first experience in the professional world. It enables you to see how the corporate world operates and how knowledge is transmuted to the making of valuable products and services. Other times, it is your negotiation ticket for future consideration as a graduate trainee, intern, part-time, or fulltime worker.

It lasts for a few months, but it is pivotal for your career growth. Here is a list of things you can do while preparing to join. 

1. Research about the organization 

Behind the stunning logo, the popular name, and the picturesque building is where real work happens. So, read more about the company such as founders, products, services, unique value proposition, achievements, power points, reviews, culture, policies, publications, and community engagements. 

In cases of minimal details online, research the close competitors to get a glimpse. As commonly acclaimed, knowledge is power. Meaning that the more you know about the company, the easier it will be able to fit into the team.

2. Know the main activities of the company 

You have learned so much so far, but the knowledge will apply to different extents depending on the company’s activities. 

In that case, stretch the muscles and know what lies ahead; that is, how the company solves market needs. This will give you a glimpse of the academic areas to focus on for a quick fit into the company.

It is also wise to research the clientele to better understand the involvements of the company. You can also go the extra mile and study more about the field, the inventions, and market trends to know how the company is preparing for the future. 

3. Familiarize yourself with the region

In some cases, students spend the first few weeks learning about their surroundings; time that would otherwise be used for gaining hands-on experience. If possible, request for an in-house tour from the talent acquisition specialist.

4. Ask the HR 

Ask the professional whether there is anything you should know or prepare for before joining. This bold step will eliminate the guesswork out of your plans. 

5. Plan your personal life

Professional and personal lives are closely connected. Therefore, whether the internship is a paid opportunity or not, knowing how you will cater to your bills, commutes, and other needs is crucial.

If you have medical conditions that would require special consideration such as an appointment on specific days, inform the HR for proper planning or take actions that will eradicate collision between the two. 

6. Refine your socializing skills 

You will meet many people who will play both minor and significant roles in your career growth. Therefore, learn beforehand how to interact with different people and make meaningful connections. 

7. Approach with an open mind 

Research about the company, though essential, will only give you a glimpse of the experience. For instance, an alumna may have reported a bad experience while working in the company but that does not tell the entire story.

An open mind will help you to see things as they are and make informed decisions.

8. Learn about common workplace challenges 

The corporate world is not exempted from challenges. It may be office politics, discrimination, monotony, minimal duties, personality incompatibility, and harassment among others. For an easy time, inquire from experienced professionals how best to handle such challenges.

Note that workplace cultures and experiences vary but seeking information early is still useful.

9. Be open to learning

Industrial experience is different from institutional. Institutions test one’s ability to grasp concepts, write on paper, or deliver specific results after following a definite path. The corporate world is dynamic. It also recognizes the presence of multiple ways of getting a similar result and encourages their use. This knowledge is then used in the design of products or services that can meet the market needs.

This transition from institutional to professional may be challenging at first, hence the need to open self to starting from scratch. Professionals are aware that you don’t know everything about the career, so don’t be afraid to point out what you don’t know and asking questions. 

10. Ensure healthy competition 

The corporate world recognizes differences in personalities, traits, and skills. Rather than trying to outdo everyone in everything, understand your capabilities, and cooperate with others. 

11. Keep your eyes on the prize.

There may be hurdles along the way, such as being exempt from tasks you may want to learn about, unsupportive mentors, or odd duties such as photocopying. Nonetheless, follow your primary objective of learning as much as possible from the opportunity. 

In conclusion

The internship period moves swiftly, which leaves some interns surprised because of how little they learned. However, if you are well prepared from the first day, you will be able to siphon a pool of knowledge from the experts.  


About the author.

Catherine Wanjiru is a writer, author of Layers of a Human and a personal development enthusiast.

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya

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