Taking part in an internship is an effective way to prepare yourself for the working world. You will be able to get a feel for a real working environment, as well as face up to the challenges that you will experience when you are in a full-time position.
However, some people do not make the most of their internship opportunity and do not reap the benefits. If you are looking into applying for one of the Western Cape government internships after you have completed your studies, then read on below for tips on how to get the most out of your internship.
Find opportunities to gain knowledge
During your internship, you should try to learn about a variety of things. For example, if you are interning with the marketing department, you could ask the editorial team about their roles. Find out what their responsibilities are and learn how their roles differ from your own.
You should also aim to learn about the company and the different aspects that make it tick. You could ask about the company culture, how it is organised and what characteristics make a good worker in their eyes. Gaining knowledge is one of the best ways to make the most of your internship as it will help you to make a decision about whether or not the industry is truly for you.
Take on extra work – without being asked
Use your excess time to take on new projects or tasks without being asked by your superiors. This will show them that you are a hard worker, as well as help you to avoid sitting idle at your desk for hours of the day.
By taking on extra work, you will also be building your own skillset. Instead of sitting at your desk scrolling through social media, spend time taking on tasks nobody wants to do, or offer your services to departments that are short-handed. Your superiors will see that you are willing to put in the extra work and you could get an invite back or even an offer for a permanent role.
Many interns feel as though asking questions makes them appear young and inexperienced. But the truth of the matter is that you are young and inexperienced. Asking questions will help you to understand the tasks you have been given and will clarify anything that you might be unsure of.
If you do not ask any questions during your internship, you will come out of it no more educated than when you went in. Nobody will be angry with you for asking questions, after all, they are there to teach you the ropes of the industry. You should ask questions that relate to the role you have been given and to the industry of the company itself. This way, you will have a solid idea of whether or not you are truly suited to either one.
Ask for feedback
With any of the Western Cape government internships you are the “newbie”. This means that you will need feedback on everything you do, whether it is good or bad. Some companies are good with following up and providing this feedback, but some are not and might forget to give you any on a regular basis.
You will need to take the initiative and ask your superiors for feedback. Not only will this be helpful to you, but it will show them that you are interested in learning and growing. It might be hard to receive negative feedback, but it is better to receive it as an intern rather than in a full-time position where negative feedback could cost you your job. You will also have a definitive answer for the dreaded interview question, “What are some of your weaknesses?”.
Try to form connections
Being an intern is difficult. You are at the bottom of the ladder and are probably too shy to speak to your colleagues. But you should try to change this and form connections because having connections in the office can make your working day easier and more fun. You will also be able to network if you have some connections in the office.
Forming connections will also help you to find a mentor, and a mentor can be immensely helpful during an internship. Your mentor can give you advice on how best to perform and complete tasks, how to interact with your colleagues and provide a perspective on what it is like working in their industry. Some of the connections that you form will last for years to come, so be sure to keep in contact with them after your internship.
Your future is waiting
Taking part in an internship will allow you to learn and grow. You will discover aspects of yourself you might not have known about, such as your ability to work under pressure and how well you manage your time. However, you will need to be sure to make the most of this time. You can do this by taking on extra tasks without being asked, finding opportunities to gain more knowledge and asking for regular feedback. Soon you will find yourself in a permanent position, using the skills you learned during your internship.