An internship is one of the best ways to get into the career you want if you don’t have the necessary experience. Companies will often hire their interns rather than advertise if the intern has done well because the intern already knows the company and its procedures and it reduces any downtime during handover (not to mention advertising and recruitment costs).
If you don’t end up with a job through it, you’ll still have the experience and the references to push you forward in your job hunt and place you above those candidates who applying raw.
This is where you should be developing your work ethic. While many internships are for little or even no pay, how you perform in this phase is key to gaining employment. If you do the bare minimum, put your focus on fetching the coffee and saunter about when work is scarce, you’re neither making the right impression nor making the most of the opportunity.
Go in early, leave late, ask how you can help others when you’re low on work, remember people’s coffee preferences and the times of day they usually go on a run if that’s all you’re doing – be pre-emptive, listen and listen a lot to understand both what is going on in the company and to identify areas where you can help.
Be productive, proactive and perform over and above how you’re expected to. Pay attention to detail, regardless of how menial the task because if you’re trusted to do the little things, the bigger, more important roles and responsibilities are more likely to come your way.
If you’re not interested in your internship, why are you there? An internship isn’t a way for companies to gain cheap labour, they’re putting effort and time into training and mentoring you so you should be interested in growing your skillset through their tutelage. Ask questions and then ask more questions. This is a learning experience, this is your first foray into the industry or this particular career arc so put your all into it. Learn about the company, ask co-workers the best and worst aspects of the job, learn the job, ask questions and show a genuine interest in what you’re there to do.