An internship can be a nerve-wracking experience; you’re not in the safe, familiar walls of the classroom. Instead, you’re inside a building full of people wearing suits and ties. You’re actually working.
But in a way, an internship is like a more challenging version of school. There are no teachers but you have your supervisors. Your co-interns become your classmates of sorts. You still got deadlines and work to do, but now, there are real-world consequences. When you’re an intern, you’re seeing the world beyond the walls of your classroom. Everything you know expands. That’s why internships are an enriching experience.
To excel in an internship, you have to step up your game and prepare for some changes. Start your internship on the right foot by keeping these three things in mind:
1. Work on extracurricular achievements, not just high grades.
You’ll need more than just high grades to catch the attention of hiring officers when you apply for internships. Companies consider other criteria in potential interns such as extracurricular achievements and interview performance. So it’s time to build up your resume with extracurricular activities!
Unlike in schools where grades measure every fabric of your being, the workplace values you depending on your skills, attitude, grit, diskarte, and PR (public relations), which leads us to another tip…
2. Hone your public speaking skills as early as possible.
In school, recitation usually makes up only 20 percent of our grade, so we tend to take recitation for granted (and even dread it). Real talk: You’ll need to master your public speaking skills to excel at a job application and work life. Being able to speak clearly and confidently will set you apart, especially when you’re attending an application interview or pitching your ideas in front of a team!
What’s more, hone your social skills. As an intern, expect to mingle with your co-interns and even with the employees in the company, including the boss. How you handle conversations can make a good impression on the people you work with.
So on your next recitation, try to improve the quality of your answer, your delivery, and diction. Your future self will thank you. Pro-tip: Watch TED Talks to observe how great speakers do it!
3. Treat your internship experience like a real job, with a lot of room for practice.
An internship will be your preview to adult life. Make the most out of the learning experience, and be the best intern you can be. You get to experience what it’s like to be a professional—without the challenges of taxes, rent, existential crisis, and job burnout just yet. So take in everything you can learn from your internship. Have fun! Make mistakes and learn from them. When you step into actual work life, you’ll be more prepared.