The first day of work is just like your first day of school. So not true! You need to realise that you’re on your own and you won’t be spoon-fed. You’ll need your wits, grit, determination and a lot of positive thinking to succeed or at least, do your best to shine at your job internship.
My course mates and I were required to undergo a two-month long practical training after our second year in university. I was terribly nervous on my first day as an intern reporter at a newspaper organisation. Technically, it was my second time working. I had to brace myself to stay confident while meeting new people and learning the ropes of reporting for a major newspaper.
So, to help you prepare for your first, second or third internship, here are some internship survival tips:
- Learn as much as you can about the company or organisation where you’ll be working. Do your research on the Internet, the company’s website, newspapers, anywhere in order to have a better understanding of what the company does and expects from their employees. Find out who are their top people. Get to know what your role is when you start working there. Know the location of your workplace and practise getting there.
- Prepare yourself. By this, I meant by personal grooming and work ethics. Think about the proper clothes and shoes to wear. Get a haircut or a trim. Make sure you are clean, neat and tidy. Remember, first impressions count. Besides, brush up on your working skills or any other skills needed for work. I wished I had done more preparation before I started my internship but managed to catch up by reading a lot on newspaper reporting and writing, which were relevant to my job.
- Smile and be friendly. Even if you do meet some nasty people at work. Just maintain a calm, friendly demeanour and don’t worry if they don’t seem to like you. Try to get along with them but concentrate on doing the best in your job. Don’t fret if your boss seems unpleasant. He or she has a lot of responsibility so don’t be too quick to judge them. Listen to what they say and take note of any advice they give to you. You learn the best from your boss and superiors.
- Be alert and learn from your work surroundings. Know what’s happening. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything. There’s nothing wrong with asking. If you feel your workload is too light, you can ask for something extra to do. This shows your initiative and interest in the job. Don’t just sit around chatting on MSN, waiting for something to do. Ask for more.
- Give 100% effort in everything you do. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might – as the saying goes. Don’t do things halfheartedly as it sends out a wrong impression on you and it’ll reflect badly on your evaluation. Even if your boss initially sets simple tasks for you, do them well. This will show that you take pride in your work and that you’re ready for more important tasks.
The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself when you’re an intern. It’s a great learning opportunity which exposes you to the real deal if you start working at the job full-time. Ask yourself if it’s something you’d like to do every day for the rest of your life after graduation. Make full use of this incredible experience to help you decide what you want to be.
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