Making An Impression During Your Work Experience

It goes without saying that you will want to get the most from your work experience. The aim is always to try and secure a permanent position, and, if that is not possible, you want to make a positive impression so that you make contacts and open the door to opportunities in the future. But, just how do you do so? Read on for all of the tips you need.

 Why doing work experience is important:

Before we reveal what to do to make an impression on your internship, first let’s take a look at the reasons why an internship is so important.

·       Chances to network – You will get the opportunity to build up your contact book by networking with professionals in the industry. You never know what opportunities could arise from meeting such people and getting their contact details.

·       Accumulate new skills – You will learn plenty of skills during your internship, all of which will be vital because they are clearly skills that are required in the real working environment.

·       Introduction to the field’s culture and etiquette – All sectors have a specific way of doing things, and the only way to truly learn about the etiquette and culture of your field is to be immersed in it.

·       Learning experience – Learning in a classroom can only take you so far. With an internship, you will gain real-life working experience, which will stand you in great stead for future jobs.

·       Apply classroom coursework to the position – You will have learnt a lot of theory in the classroom, and your internship allows you to put this into practice. It connects the dots so you’re ready for the future.

·       Gain confidence – One of the great things about an internship is that your confidence will increase more and more as time goes on. After all, there is no one to hold your hand during an internship – it is all on you. Once complete, you will feel a great sense of pride and achievement, and you will feel more confident when starting a job in the future.

How to make an impression during your internship:

·       The right attitude – Having the right attitude is vital if you are to make the best impression during your internship. You need to be enthusiastic and willing to do any task that is thrown your way. If you do not seem interested or you are reluctant to do certain things, you will make an impression but it will be the wrong type of one. You also need to make sure you are learning outside of work. A lot of people take online courses, such as those at SCU online, while they are interning, so they are getting the qualifications and experience at the same time.

·       Be punctual – Turning up late is always frowned upon. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the office. Before your internship starts, it is always a good idea to do the journey so you know how to get there and how long it takes.

·       Dress appropriately – Don’t turn up to work in a T-shirt or a short skirt. Make sure you research the dress code beforehand, as what you wear will largely depend on where your internship placement is. Nevertheless, if you are in an office environment, as most interns are, then you should wear conservative yet professional clothing. For example, men should wear a lightweight suit and tie while women should opt for a blouse, knee length skirt or trousers, or a suit.

·       Greet everyone with a smile – You know what they say – ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression.’ First impressions certainly count. If you don’t greet your co-workers with warmth and a smile, they will remember it. Something so simple can make a massive difference.

·       Find a mentor – In most cases, you will be assigned a mentor to assist you during your internship. This is the person you can ask questions if you are unsure, as they are there to show you the ropes. If you are not assigned a mentor, don’t be afraid to ask for one. Otherwise, you will find yourself sitting there with lots of questions and no one to get the answers from.

·       Respect others – This of paramount importance; you need to behave appropriately in the workplace. You should never make personal calls, unless they are urgent, nor should you make inappropriate jokes, swear, take office supplies home, or talk negatively about coworkers.

·       Email etiquette – You need to learn how to email effectively, and you need to learn quickly. Your messages should be short and to the point. You shouldn’t send personal emails from work. You also need to include a subject line, check your grammar and spelling, and ensure that you are straightforward, as tone can be easy to misinterpret over email.

·       Take the initiative when you introduce yourself – Don’t wait for people to introduce themselves to you, take the initiative. It can be nerve-racking, but people will respect you for it. If you wait for people to introduce themselves to you and they don’t, it will only get more awkward as time passes by.

·       Listen and take notes – There is a lot to take in during an internship, especially on your first day. So, make sure you have your notebook and pen handy so you can take notes. It may seem like a lot of effort, but you will thank yourself later. You will have your notes to refer to later on, and this can make a massive difference. You also need to display that you are engaged. You can do this by making eye contact as well as nodding and smiling. If you simple sit there, empty handed, thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner or what you’re doing on the weekend, it will show. Those at the company will assume that you’re simply there to get the internship on your CV and you’re not really interested in anything else.

·       Say ‘yes’ – Get used to saying yes, whether this is yes to making the coffees for your co-workers or yes to a lunch date with them. Take every networking opportunity you get and be enthusiastic about all tasks, even the small, seemingly pointless ones.

·       Ask questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Of course, you shouldn’t inundate your mentor with a million questions a day, but if you do not know something you should always ask. No one is going to expect you to come into the company and know everything about how things work there.

If you follow the advice that has been mentioned above, you are guaranteed to make a positive impression during your internship while you will also extract maximum value from the experience.

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