Beginning an internship is the first step to learning new practical skills and it is important to be able to obtain as much information and learn as many of these skills as possible while you are on your internship.
Starting on a new career path is daunting for all of us – it is very challenging, but also rewarding and exciting.
Here are few guiding points and tips to ensure you are able to effectively learn your new profession:
Research – your chosen field before starting. There is so much information online these days to help with our practical needs. You can also speak to someone in your industry at home before leaving on your internship to see what their best tips are for working in your industry. You would be surprised at how many people are willing to go out of their way to mentor new incomers!
Be organized – this is so simple and yet it is something a lot of us forget when we are stressed or anxious about our new roles. This includes keeping a diary and writing down any skills, names, companies, or roles which you don’t currently understand so you can look them up later. If you learn and understand the foundations at the beginning, harder tasks will be much easier to pick up later on in your internship.
Communication – talk to your colleagues! I know it might seem like a good idea to pretend you know it all, but everybody knows that you don’t! The truth is, no one knows everything. We are all individual pieces of the puzzle and we all need to work as a team to get the job done.
Your senior colleagues will often be more than happy to help you with any queries (as long as they’re not busy themselves, that is!). Ensure you speak to different people as well, don’t always ask the same person. It may be tempting to constantly go to the person you’re most comfortable with, but they also have a job to do. Plus, talking to different people means you learn different ways of doing things – then you have the option of choosing the process that suits you best!
Be a critical thinker – this means asking yourself “why?”. “Why is this task necessary? What is its purpose?”. Often when we understand why something is needed, questions such as “what to do” and “how to do it” will naturally follow. Don’t just walk around blindly during your internship, be aware of what is going on around you and how people are operating and getting tasks done in their own roles.
Be confident – in yourself and the skills you already possess. Often we don’t realize how much we already know about certain things! You were successful at winning your internship placement so your employers have seen quality skills in you to bring you on board – they would not waste their time otherwise!
These are just a few tips to get you started on your way and hopefully they have settled some of those nerves. Learning a new profession takes time, often a lifetime! So remember that a career is a journey, not just a job and if you take the time to learn the basic skills now, you will be a winner throughout the rest of your career.