Sure, interns may be asked to make coffee for the top dogs, but God knows there’s got to be more. While some internships prepare candidates for their prospective career endeavours; others are, let’s say, irrelevant. Whether you are looking at student jobs or an unpaid opportunity, there’s got to be a meaningful exchange. Here’s what you’ve got to know before applying for an intern post.
Myth: Every opportunity is a learning curve
While you should by no means disregard all opportunities as chances to learn; idling in the office sharpening pencils, making copies and endless cups of coffee may perhaps not be the best fit. To try and minimise such instances, you need to understand the job description of the intern position that you are applying for.
Not all internships are created equal, so apply for the one that best suits your career aspirations. That said, chances are you can’t completely avoid the coffee drills, so do them with a smile. Perhaps someday when you are the boss, you may just see the need to invest in an office espresso machine.
Myth: No news is good news
As an intern, you need to communicate professionally. For example, when interviewed, ask the right questions. Ask about the kind of duties that will be required of you. Ask about who you will be reporting to and the types of projects that you will be part of.
Even once you get the gig, you need to continually ask your supervisor for their feedback to know what you can improve. Don’t feel intimidated to contribute during meetings. Best of all, don’t be shy to ask for help when you are stuck. This is your opportunity to learn as much as you can.
Myth: Never look back
It may be worth your while to talk to former interns. They can give you the unedited versions of the projects that they did as well as their level of involvement in the team. Ask them for vital tips to prep you for the job’s corporate culture and values you need to display. Perhaps it could be good to know how they dealt with fear when they were job hunting.
Dress accordingly. Don’t be late. Mind your language. And while you are at it, give it your all. You never know if one day, they may just give you a call offering you a position because of your professionalism and work ethics.