No matter how much you try to study for your dream job, nothing beats the best teacher ever—experience. Luckily, an internship is available as a way for you to get experience straight from the masters. But how much you’ll gain from your on-the-job training is actually up to you, especially in the hospitality industry. Why not take the chance to gain experience in a real work setting, like a hotel or a theme park?
Here are four internship hacks to help you make the most of your experience.
1. Exceed expectations
Chances are when people hear the word “internship”, they imagine mundane tasks like fetching coffee and picking up clothes from the dry cleaners. But internships are more than just running personal errands for your direct manager or team. When you find yourself with nothing to do, use the time to brainstorm how you can help the company. The little things count. For example, you can update an outdated database if there’s a need to keep things in order (with permission of course). Or do they need someone to help out with a guest’s specific restaurant request? Volunteer as tribute!
When you do a little extra, you’re more likely to make a good impression on your managers. But the most important takeaway? you get to apply the theories and concepts you learned in school directly to your internship. While doing as you’re told is good, anticipating needs and doing what needs to be done is even better. Pro-tip: Show up at least 15 minutes early so you can tackle extra requests without the overtime, and impress your managers.
2. Unleash your inner extrovert
You won’t gain a lot of experience if you keep to yourself and your manager throughout the duration of your internship. Now’s the time to practice (and perfect) your people skills! Get exposed to the various teams of the company by talking to various teams, managers, and mentos. Single out a mentor who is working in your dream role, and seek out their advice. If they’re not able to mentor you, ask them for a quick coffee run or chat so you can ask questions about the role. Join the 3,125 hospitality students and professionals who receive our blog’s monthly newsletter.
3. Ask for feedback and create action steps
While you might be busy with a lot of tasks and acclimating to the company culture, be sure to set aside a time to reflect on your experience ask yourself what you want to get out of it. Do you want to get better at a certain skill? Tell your supervisor about it. Ask your teammates about how you can improve. They’ve been working for years in the industry and most of them are excited to share their knowledge if you show them you’re willing to do the work!
4. No ghosting
Think of your internship as your “calling card.” You can gain connections during your internship, but you won’t get opportunities without following up. Try writing a letter to the company, thanking them for the experience. Don’t forget to mention what you’ve learned and the mentors who contributed to your growth. While you’re at it, send an invite to your peers on LinkedIn and keep them posted in your professional life.