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How to make the most of your internship

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What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg all have in common? Aside from becoming filthy rich and wearing glasses, they all got their first major breaks through successful internships!

Yes that’s right: Mr Apple, Mr Microsoft and Mr Movies were once just like you - young minds ready to shake up the world and just looking for a foot in the door.

An internship can be the quickest way to prove your worth and impress the boss, but it can also be a surefire way to ensure you never work in this town again (well at that particular company anyway)…

Here are some helpful tips and traits to help you make the most of your internship opportunity:

1. Be Positive

As former Green Bay Packers Coach, Vince Lombardi, famously said –“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm”. At some stage you will undoubtedly be asked to perform a menial task that you may think is below you, but many workplaces merely do this to gauge your attitude. The key is to undertake each task with the same level of professional and enthusiasm, and this is done through having a positive outlook towards the tasks you are required to perform. No excuses.

2. Ask Plenty of Questions

No one expects you to know everything in your first week on the job. An inquisitive mind is an excellent trait that won’t go unnoticed. South Park’s resident teacher Mr. Garrison used to say: “there are no stupid questions, just stupid people”. Now it’s easy to overlook Mr. Garrison’s comments as being merely humorous, but he actually makes a good point – It would be very ‘stupid’ to not ask any questions during your internship. Asking questions shows you are hungry to learn, to be informed and to understand the business more intently.

3. Network like a champion

Networking is your opportunity to get to know people across all levels of your workplace. Whether you are speaking with the boss of the company or the person who greets you at the front door, each person has an important part to play within the business and should be treated accordingly. By getting to know more people, you get to know more about the company and who knows, the next person you speak to could be the one who’s offering you a job!

4. Say yes… within reason

Your internship is the perfect opportunity to gain practical experience in your new industry. Chances are, at some stage your boss may ask you to take on extra tasks and responsibilities. This may be in the form of extra hours, a special project or attending work functions and it will be in your best interests to complete these to the best of your ability. However, if your employers are continually asking you to perform these tasks without feedback, praise or compensation then it may be time to cut your losses and take your skills somewhere where they value your input.

5. Remember to Have Fun

Chasing your dreams can be hard work, and it’s not hard to become so busy that you lose sight of the bigger picture. This is your life and these are your choices. You should love what you do or what’s the point of doing it at all? Keep your chin up and know that the next opportunity is just around the bend.
Macleay College takes great pride in providing its students with internships that offer professional experience and practical education. If you have any questions regarding internships, please feel free to contact our career advisors who are more than happy to help you on your way!

Good Luck!

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