(NC) Landing a permanent position is becoming much tougher in today's competitive economy. One way for young people to get their foot in the door is an internship, where they learn key skills and experience. If you are or know a recent graduate or student planning on an internship next semester, here are some tips to help them make the most of the position.
1. Try a smaller organization. Smaller and medium-sized companies can often offer interns more responsibilities and opportunities to try out different tasks and departments because of their smaller scale. This, in turn, means that there can be more room to shine, as extra effort is more likely to be noticed by management and top decision-makers in workplaces with fewer employees.
2. Consider international opportunities. Youth with international experience are more likely to be employed later on, making an internship abroad a valuable and exciting option for getting a great job back at home. Future employers will be impressed by the cultural knowledge and professional skills gained through international work. Work permits are generally less expensive, more flexible and processed more quickly under International Experience Canada, a government-run program that offers youth a unique opportunity to gain work experience while travelling abroad.
3. Set goals. Interns can benefit from meeting with their supervisors during the first few days on the job to chat about what skills they would like to develop and what a successful internship experience looks like. Regular check-ins for feedback show initiative, drive, and a willingness to improve. That way, even if the internship doesn't turn into a full-time job in the same company, the supervisor will be sure to provide an excellent reference and can help make connections with other organizations.
4. Network, network, network. Interns who overcome shyness and gain confidence can make tons of valuable connections with peers, mentors and interesting people in any organization. An informational interview, getting coffee with colleagues and participating in company events are all great ways to meet people and make connections.
5. Take a genuine interest in the role. Supervisors know when interns are passionate about the company and position or if someone is simply doing it for a line on their resume. Interns can stand out by asking questions, offering to take on additional tasks, and attending optional workshops or seminars to further enrich their experience.