What your university careers services fail to tell you about internships

Internships are continuing to provide crucial work experience opportunities for graduates who are using their placements as a springboard to kick start their career. Indeed graduates who have worked as an intern are three times more likely to land a job in a jobs market that is as competitive as ever. We have previously covered what you need to do to get the most out of your internship, but what are careers advisors failing to tell you that could prove the difference between success and failure? Here are 5 points to take into account:

It’s okay to make mistakes
Mistakes happen – they are part and parcel of everyday life. It will take time to understand all of responsibilities you have been given as an intern – so do not worry if you take few missteps along the way! A good employer will recognise that mistakes for what they are – learning opportunities. No-one starts off being perfect at something – it takes time and hard work. How you react mistakes is often more important than fixing them in the first place. Asking questions and continually looking for feedback illustrates that you are open to learning and becoming better at your job.

Timekeeping is everything
Although this sounds obvious it makes a huge difference to people’s opinions of you. An internship could be your first professional work experience and you will be judged starting from the first steps you take into the office. Therefore turning up on time (or ahead of time which is recommended) is absolutely essential. It tells you employer that you are ready and prepared to do your part for the company. Turning up late makes you seem disinterested right from the get go.

Quality comes before quantity
From the day your internship starts you will likely be under time-sensitive deadlines. However it is important to remember the golden rule – quality always comes before quantity. Learning how to meet deadlines is vital, but you will not receive any extra credit for finishing ahead of schedule if the quality of the work itself is sub-standard. If you are struggling for time, it is best to ask for an extended deadline and hand in a high quality piece of work afterwards.

Personality is important
Employers want to take on highly competent, driven individuals but they also want to hire people they take to on a personal level. Nobody wants to work with somebody who refuses to make any effort to get to know other people. You need to buy into the team and the collective good – it will help boost your morale as well as the morale of your colleagues.

Brush up on social media skills
In an age of digital communications it is important that you are up to date with technology and social media in particular. It goes beyond posting selfies on Instagram, it is about being able to use technology to the advantage of the business. An increasing number of businesses (80% of top brands according to Fortune) are now using sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to drive business – and graduates who have grown up with technology will be expected to be naturals in utilising these platforms.

Being prepared for an internship drastically improves your chances of enjoying a successful placement. Whilst graduates (mostly) understand that they are expected to work hard, network and dress appropriately for the occasion, the tips above are ones that often get missed!

At Intern Avenue, we have a system in place that creates a “meeting ground” for employers and candidates. Graduates looking to apply for a paid internship have free access to opportunities offered by organisations including AOL, Dr Martens and the Bank of England. Additionally employers have a database at their fingertips containing thousands of profiles with the ability to headhunt candidates.

If you’re looking for a paid internship, visit us at www.internavenue.com

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