Any internship can be an exceptional experience for any college student. It allows you to gain hands-on experience and knowledge outside the classroom. However, as with a job, one should follow certain dos and don’ts to make the most out of their opportunity.
The internships do’s and don’ts for college students revolve around enjoying the experience and avoiding mistakes. This includes details about how to apply, what to do throughout the internship, and things to avoid doing. This guide will provide you with the means of making a good impression, navigating the workplace, and making the most of it.
What are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Intern?
According to Cambridge Dictionary, an internship is “a period during which someone works for a company or organization to get experience.” So, what is internship for college students? It is time you spend working as a trainee in an institute that revolves around the field you are studying in college.
Now, you can always apply for internships outside your field of study. However, you must often have the basic skills required to spend the training period there successfully.
There are also specific duties and responsibilities of an intern. However, they often vary depending on the company or the industry. However, as a generalization, what you are responsible for include:
- Assisting with day-to-day tasks and projects that your mentor or supervisor assigns you.
- Enhancing your pre-existing knowledge about the company and the industry through training and observation.
- Gaining direct experience and knowledge by performing specific tasks mandatory for your field of study.
- Creating a professional network and making more connections with prominent individuals in the industry.
- Participating in team meetings, contributing to the conversation, and suggesting innovative solutions.
- Directly follow the company’s policies and procedures.
- Completing tasks and assignments within the given deadline.
- Maintain a positive and enthusiastic attitude and be open to learning novel information and skills.
- Professionally representing the company when you interact with clients, colleagues, and other individuals who ask you about it.
- Keep a record of what you learn and observe. Keep any feedback you receive for future reference.
It is vital to highlight that an intern is not an employee. The company will not treat you like one, either. Thus, you will not be entitled to the same benefits and protection as regular workers. Your work will often be based on a voluntary or unpaid basis.
How to Make Most of Your Internships?
Making the most of your internship requires you to abide by a few rules. This involves information about how to keep yourself motivated and how to deal with colleagues in the workspace. However, before diving into the means of doing so, we must further discuss the requirements of interns.
Internship requirements for students often include, but might include more than:
- Enrollment in college or university: most internships are for college students.
- Relevant coursework or experience: getting accepted often requires you to sit through an interview with the company. You must know how to address the most commonly asked questions.
- Minimum GPA: while not always the case, some companies will require you to fulfill a minimum requirement to get accepted into their program.
- Background check: depending on the nature of the work in the company and the company’s policies, the company might subject you to an extensive background check.
- Resume or cover letter: while not all demand it, some internship programs will ask you to send them a resume or cover letter related to the field of study.
- Interview: as mentioned earlier, an essential part of acceptance is communicating with the professor. Whether that be in person or on a call, you will have to get in contact with the person responsible.
- Proof of eligibility: Various internships mandate evidence of eligibility to work in the country you are applying to, such as a valid work permit or even a visa.
- Insurance: insurance is one of the most critical aspects. This is required as proof of liability insurance or workers’ compensation insurance.
- Compliance with policies: you must comply with the policies of the company you will be working under. That includes sticking to the dress code, specific rules, and the code of conduct.
Let us now dive into the internship advice for students. Making the most of the experience requires a solid combination of effort, attitude, and strategy. Here are nine tips to assist you in your journey:
- Be proactive: take the initiative to learn as much as possible. Do not be afraid to ask questions when you need help or don’t understand a topic.
- Network: part of internships is creating an extensive network. Hence, make solid connections and relationships with the people you work with.
- Set goals: identify specific goals that relate to what you want to learn or accomplish. Plan to achieve them.
- Be flexible: be open to tasks and opportunities that you have never seen before. Take on new challenges.
- Stay organized: portray your organization skills and find the best way to balance your work and other aspects of your life.
- Be open to feedback: be receptive to feedback, and utilize any criticism to improve your skills and performance.
- Make a good impression: be punctual, dependable, and professional.
- Reflect: take the time to reflect on what you have learned, how you can apply it, and what your next goals are.
- Follow up: keep in touch with your supervisors and colleagues, as they provide you with a network that can open doors for you in the future.
7 Do’s of Internships for College Students
The following tips are unique and will allow you to make the most of your internship.
Do take on leadership roles
Look for any opportunity that presents itself to take on a leadership role. That could include organizing events or leading a project.
Do apply to a few places
Before getting accepted, one wonders, “how many internships should I apply to?” Well, remember, it is always quality over quantity. That means you should apply to places you want to work with.
Do be curious
Ask about the company’s strategies, goals, and challenges. This is something you can also exercise throughout the interviews. Ask them what they expect of you, what they value, and what characteristics they are looking for.
Do seek out mentorship
When applying to companies, we encourage you to seek ones that offer you a mentor or guide to help you through the process. Find support and professional help. Building a solid mentorship relationship can be a valuable and personal growth experience.
Being social is one way to grow. Even school students are encouraged to pursue internships in their summer free time. Once accepted into the company, make sure you socialize and attend as many events as possible.
Do be enthusiastic
Show enthusiasm and passion for what you do. Ask questions and stand out with your knowledge, hard work, and passion for the topic.
Do be creative
Creativity is one of the most demanded skills of our day. Look for new ways to enhance the organization or perspectives. Being creative and bringing a fresh outlook will make you stand out and set you apart.
5 Don’ts of Internships for College Students
When you learn how to get an internship while in college, we encourage you to avoid doing the few items listed below.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
Share any ideas and opinions, but be mindful of your tone. You do not want to come off as arrogant.
Don’t focus too much on short-term
While you must complete specific tasks by their deadlines, you should know how the company works and benefit from it in the long term.
Don’t be passive
Everyone hates someone who is monotonous and waits around for tasks. Ensure you are more proactive and energetic in the workplace.
Don’t be too focused on finishing
The internship is a learning experience, not a single task you must finish as soon as possible. It is not just a stepping stone to a job. Instead, it provides insight into the field you want to work in later.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Making mistakes is essential to any person’s life, whether they are a student or an employee. That said, once you commit one error, avoid repeating it. Be mindful and keep track of the advice you receive from others about your work.
Wrapping Things Up: The Internship Do’s and Don’ts for College Students
By utilizing the “do’s” and “don’ts” we have listed in this article, you can gain the most insight and knowledge throughout your experience. You will not truly enjoy your experience if you do not tap into the best aspects of the training period.
The most important thing to remember is to be mindful, respectful, and curious. Stir away from any disrespect, harmful behavior, or laziness. Training is supposed to provide you with valuable hands-on experience. Hence, regard it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you must make the most of.
Check out our ultimate internship guide for college students here.