As the end of the year approaches it comes with a bit of anxiety coupled with a lot of excitement for final year students-now graduates-soon to be interns. The first year of working is an important one as i believe it is a clear indication of whether you on the right career path or not. There are lot of valuable life lessons to be learned that supplement whatever working experience you will be acquiring.
The most valuable lesson from my internship: take control of your career! This might seem a little obvious at first but you would be surprised.
Interns have always been portrayed as either lazy or over enthusiastic unapologetic suck ups that are good for nothing but coffee runs and every other errand. This cannot be further from the truth, at least not for the right kind of internship. Internships are not meant to take advantage of the employer and especially not the intern. The perfect internship is dualistic relationship, a give and take for both the intern and the company.
So future intern do not walking into any internship prepared to be a glorified slave, walk in there expecting a platform to launch your career.
It is best to manage your expectations at the interview. As much as the interviewer ask s you questions to figure out if you are the ideal fit for the internship, you need to ask questions to figure out if the internship is a good fit for you.
What will be your duties? What will you are expected to achieve? Will you work weekends? etc You know what you want!
Communicate with your manager in terms of their expectations for you and communicate your expectations to them. Do you see how this is a two way road? That’s because as much as your employer is offering you a platform to gain experience in your field, you have something to offer too. You are fresh out of varsity and eager to learn. Not only do you have the latest theoretical training, you also have a fresh perspective and good companies will know how to make that work for them which ultimately will work for you too. You don’t have to go Oliver Twist “please sir, can i have some more”on your boss. Fight for your career at every turn.
Yes, you don’t have 7 years working experience yet (and you might be reminded of that several times) but everybody had to start at year one. It’s all good and well to start at the bottom but be careful not to stay at the bottom for too long
It is also very important not to be a conceited know it all because you just graduated but don’t belittle yourself or your qualification either.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Take control of your career and don’t let yourself be taken advantage of just because you carry the title intern.
Article by Maserame Jaco