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Tips for a Successful Internship

For university undergraduates, internships have become a must. Even if the internships are not the requirements for them to obtain their diploma, the undergraduates are still eager to undergo internship at least once in their university days. The main reason is that internships provide the undergraduates with real working experiences - which will be valued highly by the recruiters. While securing an internship is important, making good impressions to your boss and colleagues during the internship is also vital.

The following tips will help you to take full advantage of your internship:

1. Align your expectation
Some of you might be thinking that you will be involved in key projects for the companies that you're joining for internships. While it is not impossible, most interns won't have the opportunity to contribute to the key projects. The idea of internship is for the undergraduates to be exposed to day-to-day work in the area of their choice. In most cases, you will be involved in minor or in-house projects for the employer or you might even find yourselves doing mundane tasks that none of the staff wants to do. In exchange of doing these non-substantial works, you gain exposure to the field, skill improvements and work experience to be typed into your rsum.

2. Earn trust and respect
The rules of gaining trust are pretty simple. Do the tasks given to you well and you will earn your employer trust (and you will be given more important roles). Therefore, however minor or boring are the tasks given to you, make sure that you're executing the tasks wholeheartedly. Your internships are probably only between 3 months to 6 months. Hence, the earlier you win your supervisors' trust, the longer time you will spend on the important tasks.

3. Be pro-active
If you find yourself in a situation where your direct supervisor is clueless about what you should do in the office or a situation where your colleagues have a mindset that interns are there just to hinder their work, be pro-active! Don't be shy to suggest some ideas about what you can contribute to the company and show your supervisor that you are there to add value to the company.

4. Observe the office culture
Pay special attention on how the people in the office act, and mirror that. There is a golden rule in this world that one has tendency to like those who are similar to him/herself, the rule is also valid in the office setting. Therefore you have to do your best to mimic the behavior in the office. If your colleagues are always reach the office 15 minutes before the formally set working hour, you should also arrive early. If they adjust their voices when taking up calls, you should also do the same. Many small details like these will help you appear more professional.

5. Gather feedback
Ask your direct supervisor or other colleagues about how you are doing. Discuss on how you can improve your performance. Getting routine feedbacks from your direct supervisor will assure that both of you are on the same page about what you should be working on during your internship.

6. Learn from your co-workers
Talk to your co-workers. Ask them what motivates them to come to office every morning and let them share with you their career achievements and career plan. Internship is not only about improving your technical competencies, but also a chance for you to sharpen your people skills and to gain valuable insights about some careers in the industry.

7. Dress appropriately
Never come to the office wearing t-shirt and jeans if the rest of your co-workers come in shirt and tie. Being an intern doesn't mean that you are given the luxury to be excused from the office dress code. The company's professional image might be shattered to pieces if a key client comes to your office for a business meeting and see you dress inappropriately.

8. Give your boss a word of appreciation
At the end of your internship, don't forget to thank your boss for the internship opportunity given to you. You should also thank you colleagues for all the supports, guidance and time that they had provided to you during your internship in the company. All of us love to hear occasional words of appreciation, so don't be shy about offering it.

Contributed by: David Lukito
Adapted from Alison Green's "10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship"

Uploaded By : Sudiana
Last Update : 19/05/2011

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