For the next part of the series, I am writing a list of tips to help you make the most of your Vacation Scheme, Summer Internship or Placement.
1. Be Professional
Make sure you act the part. This means being polite, dressing professionally and turning up to work on time. Any opinions formed should be based on your ability to do the job not the fact that you wear jeans to the office or always arrive half an hour late.
- dress the part – even if you are invited to take part in casual Friday.
- watch your language
- don’t moan, bitch or complain
- don’t indulge in office gossip
- don’t flirt with co-workers
- don’t drink alcohol at lunch
- say thank you
- address people correctly
2. Plan ahead and obtain feedback
Before you start you should work out what you want to achieve. Have a chat with your supervisor on your first day and see what their expectations are, explain what you want to get out of your time and try to find a way to keep everyone happy.
- Check in with your boss regularly to discuss objectives, learning points and find out whether you are meeting expectations
- Have a feedback session
- take criticism under advisement and learn from your experiences
- share your point of view but don’t be obnoxious or a know-it-all
- if you are looking for a job – have a conversation about prospects and what the firm/company is looking for
- build a relationship with your supervisor.
3. Learn as much as you can
You should have already made a plan about what you want to achieve during your scheme/placement, but you should also be focusing on simply learning as much as you can.
- be enthusiastic
- take notes
- ask questions (but not too many)
- say yes to everything and demonstrate what you can do
- bring solutions to the table – it doesn’t matter if they don’t work – participate
- take your work seriously
- be a team player
4. Network, Participate and Socialise
Make sure you speak up and join in with things. Don’t spend your time being the mouse in the corner. If you don’t get to know others… they won’t get to know you. Vacation Schemes and Placements are great fact-finding missions.
- take part in social or sporting events
- don’t have lunch at your desk – lunch with different people and get to know them better
- don’t just mix with the other interns – spend time getting to know the full-time employees too
- Smile (it makes you more approachable)
- introduce yourself and talk to different people to learn more about the company
5. Keep in Touch (and ask for references)
After all, the hard work you have put in don’t forget to keep in touch and if you were there for a proper work placement ask for references. Even if you didn’t get a job or have decided that you don’t want to follow that career path you never know when it might be beneficial.
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