Students

Essential internship information

Applying for internships

Before the internship

Before applying for an internship, identify the skills needed to qualify for your target (long-term) jobs. With your target skills in mind, evaluate opportunities and decide if they are well suited to your needs. Use social media tools to research and decide whether the internship will help you add necessary experience to your resume.
By having a clear idea of what you want, you will be much more likely to find something to apply for, and which you can be really committed to.

Making the most of your internship

Congratulations! You have got an internship! Now what? Unfortunately, “It’s just an internship, not a real job” is something we hear all too often. But if you prepare, an internship can be an amazing learning experience, a great resource for references and sometimes leads to full-time employment. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your internship:
  • Set personal goals
    Begin your internship with an idea of areas you would like to learn more about, skills you would like to develop and people you would like to meet. Set realistic and attainable goals. Keep in mind that your goals will probably change as you progress through the internship.

  • Have regular meetings with your supervisor
    Meetings are a great opportunity for you to obtain feedback and direction from your supervisor, both positive and negative. Use this time to speak openly with your supervisor about your performance and goals. If your supervisor is not scheduling regular meetings with you, take the initiative and request meetings. Be sure to schedule a final meeting at the end of your internship.

  • Maintain a positive attitude and be professional
    Approach all tasks with enthusiasm and professionalism. Say no to negativity! Avoid complaining, being rude, disrespectful to your co-workers, and/or not performing your tasks on-time. Treat everyone in the office with respect.

  • Take initiative – do your best work
    Employers love interns who can provide unique solutions to their problems. Work closely with your supervisor, share your successes, and try not to over-step your boundaries. If you finish projects and have nothing else to do, ask your supervisor and/or other members of your department if they have additional work for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
    It will not reflect negatively on you if you ask questions. In fact, it shows that you are interested in doing the best job possible. An internship is a learning experience and while your employer expects certain things from you, they do not expect you to know everything. Seek advice and ask questions whenever you need clarification.

  • Keep track of your accomplishments
    Start a journal to help you keep track of your accomplishments throughout the internship. This will help you update your resume and/or create or update your portfolio.

After your internship

I finished my internship, now what?
  • Get feedback and ask for recommendations
    Try to arrange a meeting with your supervisor before you leave to discuss your internship, ask for feedback and recommendations, and perhaps also to discuss your career plans for the future.

  • Evaluate what you have learned
    Has the internship met your expectations? Have you developed the skills you were planning to develop? Take time to think about the skills you learned and developed, both technical and transferrable.

  • Maintain your connections
    You never know when another internship or job opportunity could come up. Chances are your internship supervisors have a lot of connections and if you are in the market for a new opportunity your supervisors are the people you want for a recommendation, contacts, or knowledge. Make an effort to maintain the connections that you have made with your colleagues.

  • Update your resume
    Add your newest internship to your relevant experience on your resume. It’s time to make that experience shine.

  • Send a thank you note
    Be sure to thank everyone who helped you. Write a formal thank you letter to your supervisor. Recognition is important, even if you did not thoroughly enjoy the working experience.
Accepting and declining internships
Whether you are accepting or declining an internship offer, it is always a good idea to confirm your decision in writing. You may be tempted to accept the offer immediately. However, it is important that you understand the terms of your offer before you accept the position so that there are no surprises once you start the internship.

If an employer emails you to set up an interview but you have decided that you no longer want the internship, you MUST write to them and let them know. Be polite. Tell them that you are no longer available for the opportunity, apologize, and thank them for their time.

If you have already accepted an internship but then get another offer you would rather take, call the employer, apologize, let them know you are taking on another opportunity and are no longer available.
How taking part in an internship can help you
Whether an internship is paid or unpaid this does not change its value. Here are just a few reasons why internships are investments in your future:

  • Real world experience: Joining a company as an intern gives you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a professional environment. You are there to gain actual work experience. Internships help by teaching you more about the career path you are pursuing. They are a way to test-drive possible jobs and explore different career options.

  • Networking: Internships often give you the opportunity to attend meetings and events. By interacting with professionals you gain new connections and learn how to communicate in a professional environment.

  • Soft skills development: Internships enable you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, improve essential transferrable skills, such as team-working, communication, and problem solving.

  • Time management: As an intern you will become better at time management. When you are working in a fast-paced professional environment every minute counts. Time management is vital in every circumstance whether you are attending meetings, finishing tasks on deadlines.

  • Career foundation: Internships provide you with the building blocks you need for your future. It is important that you choose you internships based on your interests and career prospects. As an intern you have the opportunity to get your foot in the door with a company. Keep in mind employers often use internships as a recruitment tool to test out future employees, and in many cases companies hire interns after graduation. Internships are great tools to improve your chances as a job applicant and help make you a better potential employee.
Find and apply for internships
If you wish to browse or apply for internships posted by USEK stakeholders, go to careers.usek.edu.lb.

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