During the Internship or Job
Being successful at your internship is as much about making a lasting impression as it is about doing the work well. Remember that you are representing the ACN, as well as yourself in the future.
If you make a good impression as a positive, helpful and effective worker, you are more likely not only to get a good reference and good feedback, but to be considered for a permanent position in the future. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet, regardless of their rank within the organisation.
Be conscious of the value you can add to the organisation and make every effort to make your presence felt as a positive force.
- Focus your energy on the tasks that will add the most value to the organisation, or your department as a whole.
- Be conscious of minor details and always try to do more than is asked of you. Go ‘above and beyond’.
Phone and Internet Etiquette
- Do not use a work phone or computer for personal reasons.
- Be sure to make all necessary personal calls on your cell phone (and leave the office for these), and do not use the internet for anything other than the work you are required to do.
- Being on your personal email account, Facebook, or on any other non-work-related site (streaming, downloading etc.) during work will reflect extremely badly.
- You should not be absent from your internship unless for serious personal or medical reasons.
- If, during your internship, you need to be absent for a personal or medical reason, you should be sure to excuse yourself formally and in advance (if possible). You should also let your ACN internship co-ordinator know so that they can Follow up with the Organisation.
- Ask for feedback! After every task you complete, be sure to ask your manager or colleagues for feedback on your performance.
- Listen carefully to the advice you receive and try to develop your skill-set over the course of the internship.
- Remember that the best way to learn about something is to ask about it so be sure to ask questions if you are unsure.
- If you find someone skilled in your field of interest with whom you connect well at your internship, do not be afraid to ask for their guidance as your form your career.
- Mentorship can be a powerful aid provided the person has the time to help you. If they do not, thank them for their time and perhaps ask if they know of anyone else with similar skills that might be willing to help you.
Remember that while an internship may only be for a short period of time, your relationship with the organisation may be much longer. An internship is an excellent chance to show a company your skills and the value you could bring were they to consider hiring you in the future.
When you do an internship, be deliberate about forming contacts with relevant people within the organisation. As a future leader, you will need a strong network of contacts and it is never too early to begin building those connections.
Try to remember the names of one or two people every day and make a point of addressing them by their names. Any details you remember will add to a positive impression. Be pleasant but avoid unnecessary small talk or over-familiarity. The impression you want to give is one of polite professionalism.
Maintaining a Work Record
It is a requirement of the ACN Internship experience to submit a one page report at the end of your experience and this will be easier if you keep daily or weekly notes of the things you are doing and learning. It would be great to include some pictures of you at your internship. Some points for you to consider as you write your report are:
Description of the internship organisation as well as your specific internship project(s)
Your personal background and motivation to pursue this internship
Description of learning that you gained from the internship project(s)
Your perspective about how you made an impact benefiting the organization. The more detail you can give about this, the better (eg: “saved the company 30% in costs of X.”)
Your personal reflections on how the experience will impact your personal development and ability to pursue your long-term leadership objectives in Africa
Images courtesy of Singapore Management University.