Many jobs now require graduates to have at least 1 – 2 years of working experience and internships are a great way to meet this requirement. Employers look out for candidates who can deliver, and work experience is usually an indicator to assess your skills and suitability for the job.

Internships thus give you a feel of the working world and build up a range of skills to help you meet your career goals. Here are some points to keep in mind as you embark on your next internship to maximise your time.

Relevant skills

Working will allow you to pick up soft skills that are not taught in school. These are crucial for you to go succeed at work and can only be learned through real-life experience. These include skills such as communication, organisational and teamwork.

These skills can be picked up from your working experience, and you should view each interaction and experience as practice for your future job. Consider also the skills you want to improve on and seek out avenues during your internship. Knowing what you want to achieve during your internship will keep you focused on your objectives and help maximise your time spent.

Learning more about yourself

Internships are a great way to gain relevant skills, knowledge and experience. Beyond that, they offer a chance to get a glimpse into a certain industry or company and learn more about the career experience. You might want to explore certain career paths before deciding on a certain field, and internships are a great way to discover yourself.

An internship allows you an insider’s point of view and a wider perspective of the different roles and functions within an industry. You will have a better idea of how your knowledge and technical skills can be applied at work. Further, it is a chance to push your limits and gauge your abilities and working style, to find out what you excel at and what you should improve on.

Getting one foot in the door

An internship is a chance for you to prove yourself, especially to a company or industry you want to work in. Interns who perform well might be offered a full-time position upon graduation. While it is not uncommon for employers to convert interns to permanent staff, it is not a given! You have to stand out from the other interns and go beyond to impress your employers.

Expand your network

It is never too late to start building your professional network. As an intern, you will have the chance to interact with many people in the company and industry which will benefit you in the future.

You might be given the chance to attend company or industry events, so knowing how to present yourself is crucial. The people you meet might become your career mentors or future employers, thus building relationships are important.

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