6 Ways to Take Initiative in Your Internship

By Victoria Robertson on November 17, 2017

Internships are an essential part of gaining experience prior to entering the workforce. In fact, more often than not, your internship experience can set you apart from other recent graduates seeking the same employment opportunities as you.

But how do you leverage these internships in order to benefit you? And, more specifically, how can you take initiative in your internship to ensure your experience is beneficial to your future goals?

Here are six ways you can take initiative in your internship in order to benefit you down the road in your career goals.

1. Ask questions

It’s a common habit for college students to fear asking for help. However, asking questions is easily one of the best ways to learn. While it may not sound like asking for help is taking initiative, you’re wrong. Asking for help not only demonstrates your dedication to doing things correctly, it also shows a level of self-awareness that not everyone has. When you’re able to acknowledge your own shortcomings and learn from them, you’re bound to be successful, both now and in the future.

2. Network

Networking now is one of the most important things you can do. Networking is going to set you up for success in the future when it comes time to apply for positions. If your internship allows you to meet with people in the industry you want to work in, use that to your advantage. Meet as many people as you can, talk with them, pick their brains. The more information you can get from these professionals, the more prepared you’re going to be when it comes to your job search.

3. Think outside of the box

While you definitely want to perform tasks as your internship manager tells you, it helps to do a little more than that as well. For example, if you see there’s an easier way to do something, say something. Your manager will be thankful for the help and will certainly appreciate your creativity. This is going to set you apart now and in the future, so think outside the box as often as possible. Don’t limit yourself to what you already know or what you’ve been taught, think beyond that and you’ll definitely be successful.

4. Be proactive

Again, simply doing what you’re told is important, but not everything. If you know that a task is coming up and you have time to spare, get started on it. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Obviously, you don’t want to perform outside of your role (and if you’re unsure if you should do something, always ask), but being proactive and doing things before they are assigned shows great initiative and will make an impression on your manager, without a doubt.

5. Volunteer

Sometimes, you’re sharing an internship with a few other students or you have a limited amount of responsibilities. However, if there’s ever an opportunity to volunteer for hours or for an assignment etc., take it! Don’t sit back and don’t put your social life before your internship.

If there’s an opportunity for you to take, volunteer. This will show your manager that you’re dedicated, motivated and, most importantly, truly interested. Before long, you could be their go-to student for tasks, which will help you to gain experience and exposure in your chosen career path.

6. Show your passion

This is easily the most important component on this list. When you’re looking to begin a career in a given industry, if an employer doesn’t believe you’re truly interested, they’re going to pass on your resume every time. Showing your passion for your career choice is an essential part of your job search, and it all begins with your internship experience.

Set yourself apart from the competition by showing your passion every day. You can do this by showing up early, volunteering for projects, asking for side work; really, you should be doing anything and everything in your power to show your manager this is what you want to do. Not only that, but you’ll also want to show that you’re capable of doing it and that you can be successful.

Again, internships are an extremely important component of your college experience. In addition to your coursework, internships will prepare you for your chosen career path and provide you that hands-on experience you may not be getting elsewhere.

That being said, an internship is entirely what you make of it, so it’s important to not only obtain an internship but to leverage the position to your advantage. This means that you should be taking initiative and really using your internship to create future opportunities for yourself in your chosen career path.

For that reason, follow the above six tips and your internship is sure to be the most beneficial for you, both now and down the road!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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