Regardless if you’ve already landed a great summer internship or if you are still searching for the perfect opportunity, an internship can easily help you advance to the next step in your professional career. As an international student, the most important thing is what you take away from the internship: more confidence, new skills, valuable networks, a better resume, and maybe a new job.
Here are tips to get the most experience out of your internship:
#1 Learn how to Communicate Professionally
If this is your first internship you probably have little experience in a business setting. Knowing how to communicate professionally and how to present yourself is good preparation for your future. Pay attention to how your supervisors like to communicate in certain situations. Do they contact face-to-face, use email, or call? However they prefer to communicate listen carefully, take notes, and save emails for reference. It is also helpful to make a list of all new terms, businesses, and programs so you can refer back to them.
#2 Write down your Assignments
Don’t forget that your internship accomplishments will be an important part of your future resume or portfolio, so think ahead! During your internship create a list (and keep a copy) of any assignments that require you to work with a team, use programs that may not be as common, such as InDesign or PowerPoint, benefit the company first-hand, or are simply impressive – these are the pieces that will help your resume stand out when applying to real jobs later on.
While you write down your assignments, it is important to reflect on them periodically to see how it benefited you and the company. The value in your work will help you decide if this a career you would like to pursue, and can help you improve any weaknesses that you find in your professional skills.
#3 Check your Performance
Knowing how you are performing at your internship will benefit you and the company. It shows your supervisor that you care about the company and your work. Meet often with your supervisor to go over how you are performing. Tell your supervisor how you feel about your internship role and ask for their feedback. This is great way to find areas that you need to improve on and initiates more responsibility for projects that you will enjoy. If you think the company is a great fit, use your evaluation to ask questions about a possible job at the end of your internship.
#4 Create Networks
At your internship it is important to try to make long-lasting relationships with the people you work with. Networking and creating friendships with coworkers will help you feel more comfortable during your internship and can benefit you when you need references, or referrals for a new job. Creating a professional online presence, like a LinkedIn profile, will help you stay in touch with people that you’ve worked with in the past. If you are given business cards organize them by when and how you met, and why they gave you their business card. This will help you when you need reconnect with them.
Remember your internship is a learning experience, so work hard, but be sure to have some fun too! As an international student, you can prepare for your future and build your resume by learning as much as possible about your the industry of choice, asking questions, and maintaining professional relationships.
Ready to Learn more? Check out this great blog: Tips on Making a Good Impression at Your Internship