11 October 2007

Internship Tips

A post from BlogStreet by SS Quah:
Many years ago, my previous company did not really have an internship programme. So when we heard that some interns were coming to join us, we didn't know what to do with them. We were handling highly confidential customer data, so we couldn't risk exposing the data to the interns. And because we couldn't devise an effective internship programme, we had to improvise as we went along. Also, many of the interns did not know what to expect from their attachment; so they did not know what to ask. As a result, the interns did not get the best from their two-month stay with us.

It's different now. There are more companies that offer rewarding internship programmes to college students. And they know what to offer the interns under their charge. That's a real learning experience for the lucky interns.

However, just because you have gained an internship with such a company, it doesn't mean that you'll be spoonfed during the whole of your attachment there. No, if you want to have a positive experience, be prepared to do some groundwork of your own.

Here are some tips to get you ready as an intern.

1.At the start of the programme, agree in writing with the company on your job responsibilities. Then you'll know for sure what's expected from you and what you can expect from the company.

2.In order to keep to the right track, ask for a periodical evaluation of your work. Sit down with your supervisor to discuss whether you are meeting your goals and their goals, get feedback on your performance and clarify your assignments and tasks.

3.Be responsible and treat your internship like a real job, one that is important to you. If you have a deadline to complete your task, keep to it. Plan to work hard and do more than expected of you. Take the initiative and volunteer for additional assignments. It's important to open your mouth and ask.

4.Adapt to the company's corporate culture and fit in. For example, the official starting time may be 9am but when do most of the staff arrive and begin working? Open your eyes are observe. When in doubt, open your mouth as well.

5.Every job will require you to interact with the people around you. Learn to listen well to understand instructions or requests. When talking, be sensitive and avoid public confrontations. Nobody likes to be embarrassed or lose face in public. Don't try to be a know-it-all. Be receptive to other people's ideas and you'll be surprised with how much you can learn. Before you submit any written work, check it for content, spelling and grammar.

6.Develop your working relationships with your co-workers. Network, network, network with the others in your work environment. Your professional growth depends on it. It never hurts to be friendly.

7.At the end of your stay, ask for a good recommendation from your supervisor. And always stay in touch. If you have networked well and created a good impression in their eyes, it will help you with your job search after graduation.