Making the Most of an Internship

How to ensure that your internship is as productive as possible

An internship is a great chance to further your career opportunities, but it is important that you make the most of the role both during the internship and after. We also have advice to help you secure an internship.

During the internship

Be clear about your aims for the internship

Voice your aims to your employer. If you have particular interests or skills you want to develop, your employer may be able to tailor the internship. Also, if you have your focus in mind you can ensure that you make progress and keep learning throughout the process.

Make a good impression

Establish the dress code for you internship and be sure to dress smartly if this is required. See our interview dress code for more advice. Arrive on time and be professional and polite throughout your time at the company. Try to get to know the team you are working with and be friendly to your colleagues. For example, if there are any social events like lunches or activities be sure to go along and chat to the people you work with.

Complete your work to a high standard

If you want good references or job offers in the future from your supervisor, then producing good work is important. Take initiative and ask how you can help if you run out of tasks. Also, make sure you focus when you are at work to show that you are interested in your role.

note down the projects and tasks that you do during your internship so that you can give evidence that you were learning and contributing to the organisation when you reference it in future applications

Collect contacts

Ask for the details of the people you meet and grow your network in the sector. Make an active effort to introduce yourself to the people you come across because they may be able to give you advice. Follow up with the contacts you make and your employers after the internship to show you are enthusiastic about opportunities they might have in the future.

Ask questions

Grow your skill set and get advice from people who are working in the industry. Chat to them about your career goals and ask them how they built their careers. Also ask for help if you are unsure what you are doing, rather than wasting your time stuck on a task. You are there to learn and your employer will want you to be productive but they cannot help you if you do not ask!

After the internship

Getting a job

Some internships have the possibility of a job offer at the end so an internship can be a great way to secure an opportunity with a company you already know a bit about. Often this will be advertised with the role and making a good impression on your employer during your internship may encourage them to work with you again in the future.

For your CV

Gaining experience and skills in a particular sector can give your CV the edge and help you sell yourself to future employers. Update your CV and LinkedIn when you have finished the internship. Note in particular what you did and learned in the role. You can also ask your employer for a reference at the end of your internship that you can use as part of future applications.

detailing specific projects, successes, or learning experiences you were involved with as part of your internship, rather than just saying you were an intern at the company, can help to get across the value of your experiences to future employers.

To clarify your career ambitions

If you are still deciding on the career you would like to pursue, use the internship as an opportunity to ask your colleagues about their experience in the roles you are considering. What is their work-life balance like? Do they ever get bored in their work? How much scope is there for promotion and personal development? You can start to form a clearer idea of what you want to do in the future by getting a taste of life in a particular role.

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