The benefits of taking on a summer internship or an overseas internship program are extensive. Not only will you gain the experience you need to carry out a full-time position, but your confidence will improve, you’ll build up your connections, and you may even land yourself a job if you really impress. However, simply showing your face every day is not enough. You need to ensure you make the most of your internship if you are to truly experience the benefits. Here are my top eight tips to help you do so:
- Record your experience throughout – You should take the time to record your experience while interning. You could keep a diary or write regular blog posts – the choice is yours. This is important for self-reflection and progression, yet it can also serve as a portfolio for potential future employers. But, remember to be careful with what you include so that you don’t breach any confidentiality agreements.
- Read the literature – Through my experience, there are many people that take on summer internship programs yet never read any related literature. They don’t pick up a book or read any blogs or articles to do with the industry. If you want to progress, you need to immerse yourself in the field you are interested in completely.
- Choose 1-2 skills you want to develop the most – You’re not going to become a master in your field overnight, and a lot of interns make the mistake of trying to develop as many skills as possible. Instead, focus on one or two key skills and hone these.
- Ask for a reference letter – You should always seek a reference letter from your internship placement. You will be able to use this reference letter when you apply for any jobs in the future, and it will validate that you are a good candidate for the position.
- Have a positive attitude – It is normal to feel apprehensive, nervous or even a little bit shy when you experience your first internship. After all, you’re taking a step into the unknown. But, it is important to have a positive attitude. You should be enthusiastic and willing to take on any task that is thrown your way, irrespective of how tedious it may seem.
- Network and socialise – When doing the summer internships abroad, the importance of networking and socialising cannot be undervalued. You will meet key individuals that can potentially grow your career. This is especially the case when you engage in an international internship, such as a London or Hong Kong internship from Elite Intern. Your contact book will become global, and this can really benefit you in the future.
- Be professional and stay focused on what you want to do – It is vital to remain professional and focused at all times. Don’t get distracted by your mobile phone or Facebook.
- Talk to your manager and ask for feedback – You will never be able to progress if you do not get a true reflection of your current performance. It is vital to talk to your manager so you can receive constructive criticism that will help you to continue to grow and improve.
Andrew is the Co-founder of Elite Intern, an international internship placement agency with our base in Hong Kong and operations in London, Shanghai and New York. Elite Intern’s internship program covers more than 20 industries and 5000 employers. It strives to offer students the top internships to advance their career and personal development.