Generally, an internship consists of an exchange of services for experience between a student and an organisation. Internships provide real world experience to those looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field.
Due to the short-term nature of internships, many interns do not realise that they very well may be offered full-time engagement later. This huge mistake may cost the intern the opportunity of working in the company of their dreams.
Given the right circumstances and with the right frame of mind, you can turn your internship into a full-time job upon graduation. Below are a few tips that may help you realise that dream.
Have an open heart to learning. Learn all you can. Ask questions, be inquisitive; don’t keep to yourself and don’t be prideful; have a meek and teachable spirit. Watch; observe how things are being done. If you don’t understand, there is no harm in asking questions. Volunteer for tasks and projects, by taking on new tasks and working on project teams, you will get first-hand experience on the job. The company will be more willing to commit more responsibilities into your care.
Interns are not usually under work pressure unlike full time employees. As a result of this, there is a tendency for interns to be lazy or loaf around. Don’t fall for this tendency. Always be diligent with your work and have a strong work ethic. Show your willingness to learn more and your readiness to work. Even if you don’t know much, if you show interest in learning and you indeed learn fast, more tasks will be given to you. One way to show your willingness to work is to ask for tasks. Talk to the boss or project manager about ongoing projects, the skills required and how you can fit in. Let them see seriousness and commitment demonstrated by you.
Be a good team player
It is important that you have a good rapport with other team members because you will learn a lot from them. It is also important to have a good rapport with them because you will likely get to know certain internal information about recruitment opportunities and thus position yourself correctly for them. Interns sometimes end up getting full employment at the company where they did their internship because they got vital tips on how to get hired.
Don’t be concerned about money
At this stage, money should not be your concern. Many companies do not pay interns much, yet they use them for a lot of work. You can turn this to your advantage by taking it as a season to learn and build your career. It may not yield much monetary benefits at the moment, but the experience you would earn is a good investment into and a good foundation for your career. There is a particular Chinese giant telco in Lagos, they don’t pay their interns much, yet they learn a lot even in that short period of say about six months. The few interns I have seen work there learn a lot about telecommunications and have expressed desire to further their career along that field.
Ask for career advice from your supervisor and senior colleagues
Allow your superiors mentor you. Through mentoring you learn and grow faster and can avoid the mistakes they made in the past. I believe mentoring gives you the advantage of speed, by learning from someone who has gone ahead, you avoid pitfalls they fell into, imbibe whatever lessons they picked on the way and you move faster.