What to be aware of when considering Internships

By March 13, 2019Prestigio

To intern or not to intern, that is the question!

In today’s competitive market an Internship can allow you to add relevant work-experience to your CV!

Paid Vs. Unpaid Internships

While paid internships are a bit of a holy grail, they do exist. However, temper your expectations as unpaid Internships or those offering very modest stipends are the norm.

Don’t be too quick to dismiss an unpaid Internship. If you are asking yourself: “Why bother?” We are so glad you asked.

Prestigio is unpacking the Pro’s and Con’s of Internships such that you can weigh up the possibilities.


Internship Pro’s to Ponder

Experience pays off. Professional experience in your field takes your CV from the stack of qualified applicants and puts it into the pile of interviewees. Employers look highly on individuals who can demonstrate that they could make it in the workplace and have the skills and competence to contribute in a professional setting. The biggest benefit of an Internship is hands-on experience, period!

Diversify your skill-set. An Internship provides a valuable way to try your hand at a wide variety of tasks. As an Intern you are likely to get to work on a mixture of tasks. You will also get a chance to work across various departments and with a wide range of people. Although it may feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end, it is a great way to discover the area you’ve chosen to work within.

Back yourself & get tasks done – you are there to learn but also to be useful.

Taking on an Internship can help identify what skills you need to further hone and which ones are your strengths.

If you feel like you are being kept in the shallow-end & all you do is menial tasks, then make use of the time to observe the workings of the business. Should you have a question, do your own research & then ask for confirmation. Asking questions regarding aspects of the business shows that you are engaged and that you want to learn.

Prestigio Tip: The various personalities that you will encounter offer an opportunity to develop your people-skills. When it comes to challenging or clashing personalities, a way must be found to work alongside and can give you a good taste of why people-skills are an important part of a successful career in any field.

Training is part of the gig. Almost every Internship will involve possibilities for additional training. Should staff training take place during your internship, it is likely that you will be able to attend. Training grows your resumé and the opportunity to develop skills is a big positive of an Internship.

Development is possible. The chance for development is inherent in an Internship. While some will happen naturally, it may also be possible to develop your role in such a way that you acquire new skills.

Don’t discount the reality that companies often hire out of the intern pool, so be primed to be considered an excellent candidate.

Chance to Cultivate your Professional Personae. Before you start thinking split personalities, allow us to clarify… The way in which you conduct yourself in a professional environment is important; not only should you reflect the ethos of the company but also the laws and regulations of the industry.

Top of Mind, always: While an Intern, one should act at all times as if they are a paid employee, even if they aren’t receiving any remuneration at all. Always ask, “will this affect the business positively?”

Possible Mentorship. If you connect well with your supervisor or another colleague, it might be possible for them to serve as an informal or even formal mentor. A mentor can share what they have learned, help you overcome obstacles, gift you with perspective, and more.


Pro Tips to being a Stand Out Intern

1. Have an air of readiness, not resignation. Reputation building starts from day 1, don’t get put into the wrong box out of the gate.

2. Dress smart and groom appropriately. Whether we like it or not, people do judge us based on what they can see. Don’t bring attention to yourself for the wrong reasons.

3. Be Teachable! Learn the system, understand why things are before you try to change them. Enter an internship with humility and get a handle on how things are done. Don’t act like Steve Jobs or a diva whose genius is going to show everyone up.

4. Be an adult who can manage their own responsibilities, this includes transport & time management.

5. For your own benefit, be sure to write down all of the experiences such that you can translate them onto your CV once the Internship is complete. It can also pay to recognise early on – who will you be requesting a reference from.


Possible Con’s of Internships to Consider

Often requires flexibility. Hours and projects may require untraditional work hours. This may call for time management and flexibility regarding when you get ‘work’ done.

Role may be confusing. Depending on how an organization or business runs their internship programme, it may be difficult to put define exactly what is expected. The wide variety of tasks that can be given to you may make it difficult to truly sink your teeth into a particular project. Don’t fret, it is most likely that the business is seeking to give you a broad-experience to allow you a greater understanding of how different things connect to one another.

May be patronized. This depends entirely on those you work with; the most professional among them will treat you with respect and understand that you are still learning. However, you may discover that it is challenging to shake the ‘Intern’ or ‘Student’ label. Dispel anyone’s doubts with your work ethic.


What to Expect from an Internship

As an Intern you can expect:

• To learn; people are busy with work – so understand that it will often require self-initiative.
• Build a CV and gain professional references
• To be handed tasks & being entrusted to apply your own intellect without having to be shown each step.
• To succeed with perseverance (but don’t be discouraged if you encounter failure every now and again – that’s part of learning too)
• The occasional menial task – as stated previously, it is a give & take dynamic so be your best to be helpful, even when it comes to the little things.

Remember, accepting an Internship is a commitment you should honour.

Regardless of the pro’s and con’s of your specific situation, remember it won’t last forever! Make the most of it and glean as much as you can! Being an Intern is only for a season. Potential employers will look to see if you complete opportunities before they consider investing in you.


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How to start your Professional Career while Still in University
Challenges Facing the 1st year Student
Maintaining the Balance when Working part-time whilst Studying

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