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Overtime, internship has mostly been about acquainting oneself with the working environment for a couple of months, however, this narrative is gradually changing as interns are beginning to acknowledge the need to make positive impacts in organizations. Taking up an internship is an exciting step towards gaining valuable experience and kick-starting your career and you need to be intentional about making the best of the opportunity.  Here are 6 essential tips to ensure you maximize your learning and leave a lasting impression:

1. Set SMART Goals

Setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals before starting your internship is a strategic approach to maximize the learning experience, promote accountability, and ensure that you gain valuable skills and knowledge during your time with the organization. You need to have a purpose and establish clear, achievable goals. Identify what you want to learn, the skills you want to acquire, and the experiences you are willing to have. Having a roadmap will help you stay focused and motivated throughout your internship, and it increases your chances of success.

2. Be Innovative

Taking initiative and showing enthusiasm is one of the essential steps you must take to make the most of your internship. As the Roman philosopher, Seneca, once said, “when preparations meet opportunity, it becomes favor”.  Exercising initiative and expressing enthusiasm shows how prepared you are for the job, and employers value that. Take on additional tasks, volunteer for projects, and showcase your dedication to the organization – you need to go an extra mile. This proactive approach will not only enhance your skills, but also leave a positive impression on your superiors. There is a higher probability that, you will either be employed after the internship, or you could be recommended to a reputable organization.

3. Seek Feedback

Being eager to seek feedback and learn from mistakes is also a vital piece. This should be one of your priorities as an intern because constructive feedback is a valuable tool for personal and professional growth. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – view them as learning opportunities that contribute to your overall development. Actively seek feedback from your mentors and supervisors, and use it as a guide for improvement. That’s why you are there – to learn!

4. Network

It is very important to network strategically. Building a professional network is a crucial aspect of any internship. Take the initiative to connect with colleagues, supervisors, and professionals in your organization. Attend social events, engage in informational interviews, and utilize professional platforms like LinkedIn to expand your connections.

5. Collaborate

According to John C. Maxwell, “teamwork makes the dream work”. Teamwork or a collaborative skill is essential when it comes to having a successful internship. You need to learn how to work with others to achieve a goal. Collaborating with others gives you the opportunity to learn as well as contribute your quota, and it always increases productivity and leads to the birth of new “creations”.

6. Be Abreast with Industry Trends

Staying updated on industry trends is an effective way of having a successful internship. A proactive approach to staying informed about organization’s developments and industry trends is essential. Regularly read the company publications, attend relevant webinars, and participate in discussions to stay ahead of the curve. This knowledge will make you a more valuable asset to your internship organization.

In summation, by setting clear goals, being proactive, seeking feedback, networking strategically, building collaborative skills, and staying informed about industry trends, you can ensure that your internship is a stepping stone to a successful career. Making the best of your internship requires dedication, curiosity, and a proactive mindset. Embrace these tips, and you’ll not only enhance your skills, but also leave a lasting impact on the organization.

Source: Ghana/ Akugri