by Antonia Mak | 01 May 2017
Internship experience is one of the most important pieces of the foundation you can lay for a successful career. It’s a great opportunity for international students to gain New Zealand work experience. It can be your life game changer. A good internship can lead to a job, great references, and valuable experience. I have been talking to a lot of employers who share the same thinking when it comes to choosing candidates. When two graduate students apply for one position, employers are much more likely to hire the one with internship experience than the one with a generic resume and lack of experience. Employers value students who have internship experience over those that have not. Internships make you more marketable to employers.
Internship experience can be wonderful and brings you a lot of value. However, sometimes interns complain that their internship was not what they expected it to be. There are many reasons for this. In my point of view, you are the boss of your own internship. It is up to you to decide and create yourself a good and memorable internship or just an average internship.
Here are my top 5 tips for you to create yourself a meaningful internship:
Even at intern level, employers like staff who bring something extra to the business. If you have a new idea or can see a way of improving processes, suggest it. If any interesting challenges come up, be prepared to take them on, even if it means extra work or attempting something that is out of your comfort zone. All of this will help you get noticed.
One more thing, remember to offer help, ask if there’s anything extra you can do.
Some companies pride themselves on treating interns like full-timers. This is a great opportunity to show your employer that you are a great asset. Your internship can potentially lead to paid employment – short-term, contract or a full-time job once you graduate. Working hard and giving your best to make an impact on the host organization is very important.
TREAT YOURSELF AS PART OF THE TEAM
Join the office happy hour! It would be very useful to make friends and stay in touch with the individuals you work with and meet during your internship. Hopefully, they’ll think of you when opportunities are available. You’ll also have an opportunity to see what a particular job, company and industry is like before you get to the point of applying for full-time employment.
Take this internship opportunity to learn as much as you can. Ask your supervisor or manager about anything that you’re interested in, that will help you grow. These don’t even have to be questions related to your project. You can ask about what challenges they’re facing and what decisions they’re faced with. Show some interest and curiosity!
All too often, people do not express their appreciation for opportunities. Go out of your way to thank your host organisation for the opportunity to gain experience and begin your future in the industry. You were chosen and offered invaluable resources that you will take with you even after you leave. Internships are often the catalyst to jumpstart your career; expressing gratitude shows your team that their decision to onboard you was well worth the time.
So make the most of your internship. It’s a valuable and unique opportunity that can pave your way to future employment in NZ!