Brittany Miner is a writer for Interns.org which I didn’t know existed when I started interning but wish I had. I particularly like the final paragraph – good knowledge. See this related discussion on AidSource for more.
Working as an intern is often a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry you’re passionate about. Not only can you make connections, you can get a feel for how your industry works and gain valuable knowledge than can last a lifetime. In order to optimize your time as an intern, it’s important to adequately prepare yourself, which can usually be done by following several tips.
Perhaps the most important thing to do is learn about your industry as much as possible. For example, if you will be interning for a non-profit or charity, you should conduct some preliminary research into its history, practices and ethical guidelines. You should also check out what some of the current trends are and who the leaders are within your industry. Doing so should make the transition process easier and you will have the necessary background to be successful.
Another way to prepare is to build up your online presence. Due to the power and wide usage of social media websites, it’s helpful to establish yourself on websites like LinkedIn and Facebook. This includes filling out a complete profile and avoiding any content that could give you a bad image. For example, putting partying pictures on your Facebook account could give your superiors a negative image of you. Instead, you should make your social media accounts as professional as possible and demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable of your industry.
If possible, you should also try to network with relevant people beforehand and try to establish relationships. This can be done online through social media or by interacting with superiors with whom you will be interning under during your stint. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but simply getting some type of correspondence before you begin is ideal. Doing so should make it easy when you’re starting out and can give you a leading edge if there are other interns.
Along with this, it’s important to know what type of clothing you will be expected to wear during your internship. For example, some companies may by casual and only require a button up shirt and khakis. Others may have more strict clothing etiquette and require formal wear like a suit and tie. Since first impressions are crucial, being properly dressed should help you fit in and build rapport with others. In addition, you should have some specific goals in mind before you begin your internship.
To get the most out of your time, you should make it a point to learn and get the experience it takes to make it at the next level. For example, you may want to learn the financial aspects of your industry or become highly knowledgeable in a particular area. Once you start your position, you should strive to reach all these goals and monitor your progress.