Internships are valuable opportunities for young professionals to gain real-world experience, expand their networks, while laying the foundation for their future careers. In fact, an internship at Esri is what led me to my career today. I’m Marcus Seepersad, an Automation Specialist at Esri and YPN advisory board member, and I’m writing this blog to give you firsthand advice to make your future internships lasting and fruitful. While technical skills and academic knowledge are crucial, equally important is the ability to build meaningful relationships and make a positive impact wherever you go. In this article, we will explore 7 strategies and insights to help you stand out and be a beacon of light in any room you find yourself in during an internship.
Be Genuine and Authentic
Authenticity is key when it comes to building relationships. Be yourself and let your true personality shine through. Avoid pretending to be someone you're not, as people can easily sense insincerity. Embrace your unique strengths and quirks, and leverage them to create connections that are built on trust and mutual respect. I leveraged this quality during my experience as a UC assistant, I felt slightly imitated and somewhat out of place; after all, this was my first corporate experience. I made it a point to build honest and genuine relationships despite cultural differences.
Develop Active Listening Skills
Being a good listener is an invaluable skill that can greatly enhance your ability to build relationships. Pay attention to others when they speak, maintain eye contact, and show genuine interest in what they have to say. Actively engage in conversations by asking relevant questions and offering thoughtful responses. By doing so, you demonstrate that you value and respect the perspectives of others. As a UC assistant I had the opportunity to attend the Esri Partner Conference. I had no clue how GIS was being leveraged by Esri customers, yet I found myself on the expo floor asking questions and learning about the technology. I focused my attention and made clear connections between the customer, the technology, and the solution. . This experience helped me gain valuable insights about the company and where I could potentially fit in.
Practice Professional Etiquette
Professionalism is essential in any work environment. Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and meet deadlines consistently. Show respect for everyone, from the CEO to the janitor. Displaying professionalism in your behavior, communication, and work ethic will earn you the admiration and trust of your colleagues and superiors. Practice email etiquette when communicating with colleagues, partners, leadership, and the like.
Seek Mentorship Opportunities
One of the most significant benefits of an internship is the chance to learn from experienced professionals. Actively seek mentorship from individuals who inspire you and whose knowledge aligns with your goals. Engage in conversations, ask for advice, and express your desire to learn and grow. Building relationships with mentors not only provides guidance but also opens doors to future opportunities. This article offers great advice on how to be proactive in finding a mentor.
Embrace Collaboration and Teamwork
Internships often involve working within teams to accomplish common goals. Embrace collaboration by actively participating in team discussions, offering innovative ideas, and willingly taking on responsibilities. Be a reliable team member by delivering on your commitments and supporting others when needed. By fostering positive relationships within your team, you create a positive and productive work environment.
Show Initiative and Enthusiasm
Demonstrate your passion and dedication by going the extra mile. Be proactive in seeking out new projects and opportunities to contribute. Show enthusiasm for your work and be willing to take on challenging tasks. By consistently demonstrating your commitment and initiative, you'll leave a lasting impression and be seen as an invaluable asset to the organization.
Practice Gratitude and Appreciation
Never underestimate the power of expressing gratitude. Recognize the efforts of your colleagues and supervisors by acknowledging their contributions and thanking them sincerely through email, Teams meetings, in person, or through a chat. A simple gesture of appreciation can go a long way in building positive relationships and fostering a supportive work environment.
The Bottom Line
Standing out during an internship requires more than just technical skills and academic achievements. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can cultivate meaningful relationships, make a positive impact, and become a beacon of light in any room you enter.
Remember to be authentic, actively listen, practice professionalism, seek mentorship, embrace collaboration, show initiative, and express gratitude.
Your internship experience will not only be personally rewarding but also set the stage for a successful and fulfilling professional journey ahead.
Check out this amazing Faces of YPN story about an intern who landed a very impactful role as an Executive assistance to the CEO of US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). Learn from Nia Corpuz’s experience as an intern and how she employed these same techniques to land her current role.
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