Congratulations, you’ve got yourself an internship! What comes next? From finding the right placements to following up after you’ve finished, here are some fantastic tips for helping you effectively prepare for an internship.
Do your research
There are some things that you may have not thought of, but which will help you immensely. Check the company’s website first – find out what sort of work they’re involved in, their values, and methods. You can also contact people who are currently working at your future internship site for more information and advice about what to expect there.
Fundamentally, you’re making sure that the placement you’ve chosen is the right fit for you. For instance, are you interested in the pharmaceutical industry? Are you planning to head into a scientific sector and work with companies like Polymer Chemistry Innovations (polychemistry.com)? Whatever your chosen field, be sure to understand how it operates and where you see yourself fitting into it.
Get yourself noticed
Yesterday you were a student, today an intern. To be noticed by employers and to get recognition from managers you will have to make sure your skills are above standard. There is no point going into a job expecting it to run itself. Work hard during your internship- this will allow you to take on more responsibility in the future and establish credibility with management. If that sounds like the kind of person you want to work with then write a stellar reference letter or provide excellent quality feedback about interns who come after you.
Sell your expertise
You’re a scientist, engineer, or design guru. Because you studied so hard for so long to attain these skills, it can be easy to forget what you have to offer once you enter the ‘real world’. In order not to simply become an intern but someone who is valued and trusted by employers, take advantage of your hard-earned qualifications. How? By offering advice or insight into cutting-edge technology that no other member of staff has been able to produce. Not only will this demonstrate your ability, but it could give your internship a significant competitive edge against other potential interns in the future.
There is more to an internship than work, however impressive your skills may be. Make sure you try and hang out with your new colleagues. That way, you’ll instantly have something to talk about if and when you ever need to reach out to them. Also, try and establish where you can fit into the social life of your company. There will always be a happy hour after work or an annual Christmas party. Being involved in these events could help you make some lasting working relationships that stand to benefit both yourself and your career prospects.
Once your internship is finally finished, you should always follow up with your managers. This means sending a thank-you letter to everyone who helped you out along the way and congratulating them on all their successes throughout the year whether they were closely related to your work or not.
Make sure that you mention what a great experience it was for you and what you have learned from them. Also, if your company offers any career development opportunities then point out that you would be interested in something like this in the future.