Author: Larry Medina (Head of Career Services, Alumni & Corporate Relations) at ESSEC Asia-Pacific
This week, I will look at how you can make the most out of your internship. As we approach the internship season for most students, let’s explore how to have a meaningful internship experience. Internships can vary significantly in length and quality for various reasons, but these recommendations apply to most situations.
First, you should be a keen listener and observer, especially early in the internship. It is the best way to learn about the business, and more importantly, understand the company culture.
Through observation, you can understand how people communicate, what behaviors are rewarded, and what skills are valued, etc.
Learning about the business is critical to thriving in an internship, and it also gives you an idea if it’s the right place for you after graduation.
Remember that not only are they evaluating you, but you should also be evaluating the company to determine if there is a fit.
Second, you should take the time to network with your fellow interns, colleagues, and managers. Invite someone to lunch or coffee as often as possible.
A bad habit is to have lunch with a few people you are comfortable with. This is the easy way out but will not help you build relationships. Fortunately, many internships this year will be in the office at least part of the time.
Even for virtual internships, it is important to schedule short “virtual coffee” sessions to build relationships.
Third, take the opportunity to shine a light on your skills. For example, if the company asks you to compile data, why not write a script to automate data collection, analyze or design data visualization, or even provide a narrative or executive summary of the results?
Impressing your manager will translate into an offer or, at a minimum, a letter of recommendation. Don’t be afraid to shine.
Finally, grow during the internship. The projects, challenges, and development will help you build your resume.
A challenging and successful internship will look great on your resume. It will show new and enhanced skills that you exercised during the internship.
It can also show industry-specific knowledge and understanding as well. Demonstrating good use of your skills on your resume can be vital to getting a full-time role.
To recap, there are several components to maximizing your internship experience. Learning, networking, and showing what you got, and building your resume are all important outcomes from a successful internship.
The cherry on the cake is to have fun during your internship. If you have fun and enjoy the experience, it will show in your work and indicate that you found a company that is right for you.
“FutureCast” is a regular series featuring solution-focused opinions and counsel by ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s faculty, staff, and students on the latest business trends. The career tips are written by Larry Medina, Head of Career Services, Alumni & Corporate Relations at ESSEC Asia-Pacific Business School.
Larry Medina is the Head of Career Services, Alumni & Corporate Relations at ESSEC Asia-Pacific Business School. For more career tips, follow #careertipswithlarry. Read previous tips from this series.