3 Tips On How To Win During Your Unpaid Internship
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3 Tips On How To Win During Your Unpaid Internship

Paving the way to your career starts here

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3 Tips On How To Win During Your Unpaid Internship

Congratulations! You made it. You applied and applied and you finally found an internship that is leading you one step closer to your career path. You are about to find out what you enjoy and what you do not. You are going to gain real work experience that is valuable to understand and carry out. You are going to understand organizational culture and different management styles. You are going to gain insight on how businesses operate and how different departments work together. You are about to absorb all the perks of being an unpaid intern because this is your time to learn and be mentored. Despite your internship being unpaid, do not underestimate the value you can get from it. What you put in is what you get out.

Here are some tips on how to make the best out of your internship and how to leave a positive impression with the networks you connect with!

  • Be proactive and likeable

Be proactive with the workload you have during your internship. What this means is first finding the most efficient and effective way to get the job done. It means to go above and beyond what is in front of you, but finding ways to improve and add value beyond the task at hand. What can you suggest? What additional value could you add? How can you improve the method? When you are working as an intern, you are not only proving your capabilities to your direct supervisor but also fellow coworkers. You need to impress beyond the bare minimum in order to demonstrate excellent work ethic.

Extend your availability in the office and prove your enthusiasm to be there and more likely than not, that energy level will be met! According to all the body language articles I've read, smiling, being enthusiastic and offering a helping hand is always met with positive impressions, and the more you demonstrate these characteristics, the higher your chances will be for being remembered outside the duration of your internship. You never know if a supervisor will call on you in the future or name-drop you for an opening position. Always put your best foot forward.

  • Do your homework

Interns are often switching hats and doing a number of eclectic tasks, and there will be time that you will be given a job in departments you may not have the most expertise in. That's okay because you are capable and Google exists. The more information you have about any given topic, the more confident you will be in the work you produce. Self doubt stems from a lack of information so keep doing your research. Read up on the nature of your workload or topic assigned. For example, I’m a marketing major who attained a Public Relations internship. Although I understand public relations and am confident in my writing abilities, I had to do my homework on specific terms and duties. I also had to do more research about the industry and company I was working for in order to match their tone and succeed with autonomy. Whether you are a writer, engineer, or any other kind of intern, actively do your homework on your industry and duties. Trust me, it is impressive to be confident and knowledgeable.

  • Don’t be shy to ask for what you need

You will never know if you never ask. During your internship if you want to expand your workload to a task that may be more beneficial for your career path, ask! Let your supervisor know you want to sit in on a meeting or that you would like to shadow a certain department one day. This internship is for your benefit. This is your time to take advantage of the opportunity at hand and learn from people who have the position you hope to have one day. They have been in your shoes before and should be understanding and enthusiastic to help you grow. If a task seems unclear and you're anxious that you’re not doing it right, ask for more clarification. A supervisor would prefer you to be open and ask questions during the proactive stage instead of doing a job wrong. There is no need to be shy. Your internship knows that you are there to learn and grow and they should care about developing you. You are not just unpaid labor, but you are an investment the organization is making in training you and bringing you on board. Your professional and personal growth matters, and its okay to ask questions! And by the end of your run, if you have done an amazing job and made meaningful connections, do not be shy to call upon your supervisor for a letter of recommendation. They are there for you as much as you are there for them.

Look, starting an internship can sometimes be nerve racking because you want to do your best but are nervous about messing up. More likely than not, you might even make a few mistakes along the way, but at the end of the day you got the internship because they liked you and saw that you were capable during the interview process. Actively remind yourself that you are qualified to do the work at hand but are also there to learn! Your internship experience should be tailored to benefit your needs as much as the employers. Best of luck!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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