Just got accepted into an internship program and already feeling the nervous energy hit you, big time? For many people, being part of an internship is the first of many steps taken in the journey to pursue the career of your dreams. There are so many possibilities that can arise from internship opportunities and it’s an advantageous choice to make at the beginning of your working life.
It’s important to remember that maximising your professional skillset shouldn’t come at the expense of your confidence.It’s normal to have pre-internship nerves, but if you find that you’re anxious about your performance then these feelings can kick into overdrive. The good news is that an internship is scaffolded to consolidate your professional abilities – a framework that’s essentially designed to increase your confidence.
1. Keep a notebook to document your thoughts and memories
At the end of your internship placement, you’ll want to look back on the good times you had, both professionally and personally. It’s important to keep note of the positives, but also to not be afraid to be aware of your limitations and skills that can be improved. You can keep track of your daily tasks as an intern, as well as potential ideas for projects to work on in future. Keeping notes in a journal is a great way to brainstorm in group settings and meetings. Whatever purpose it serves to you, a notebook journal can be proof that your knowledge in the area is expanding as you consolidate your professional skills.
2. Ask questions about what’s new in the industry
Curiosity is infectious, and many people underestimate the power of asking questions. During your internship, you’ll be supervised by a mentor who will monitor your progress and give you tips and tricks to take forth into your career. Asking questions boosts your confidence because it makes you a standout candidate in the eyes of potential employers. A high level of soft skills in communication are sought after by managers who wish to cultivate a sense of harmony within the team. On the other side of the coin, being an effective communicator makes for a great listener.
3. Take the time to build your network
If your idea of networking consists of intimidating displays of extraverted conversation between the high-powered people in the industry, then you’d be surprised to find that professional networking can be as low-key as you want it to be. Informal catch ups with your supervisor or peers can be a great way to craft the network you’d like to have as you enter your career. A gesture as small as a coffee catch up with your peer or supervisor, or a message on LinkedIn can be meaningful and intentional ways to build a robust network.
4. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere
It’s easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond as an intern, but an internship places emphasis on learning and improving so that you can be as prepared as possible. All of the people who are in senior positions had to start as an entry level employee in the industry, and many didn’t have the insider knowledge given to them through internship opportunities. Internships put you above the rest in terms of being in the know and knowing what to expect on a day-to-day basis, which is something quite jarring that people who have no internship experience can feel!
5. Be kind to yourself on your journey
It’s always important to remember that self-confidence comes from within, and this can be a difficult thing for many people to realise. For many people who start out in their industry without prior experience, it can be daunting to suddenly be thrust into the real working world without any practise. This is why internships are so in-demand and a good way to invest in developing your skillset. Keep having the mindset that you are an intern for a purpose, and that’s to increase your employability.
Read Also: PROFESSIONALISM AT YOUR INTERNSHIP
An internship experience is one to remember fondly as a time of gaining meaningful professional experience before entering the working world. There are many ways to boost your confidence during the course of your internship, and these include keeping track of your thoughts and progress, practising your communication skills like asking questions and active listening, and building a network. Ultimately, the common thread between all of these tips is to see yourself as the star candidate that you are worthy of being.