What to Expect from an Internship for Students

Whether you’re still in school, newly graduated, or just looking to get real world experience, internships are one of the easiest ways to start breaking in to the job market. If you’re looking for the first time, it may be a little intimidating. Your role as an intern and daily responsibilities might be different than anything you experienced during your time as a student. But internships are an excellent way to gain experience in your field and an understanding of your daily work life. But if you want to know what to expect from an internship, we’ve listed a few notes down below.

What to Expect from an Internship

1. The Work May Be Different from Your Career

Something that surprises many new interns is the type of work you’ll do when you start. Interns are typically brought on to take care of smaller tasks/roles that a company doesn’t see a need to hire a full time position for. That means some of the tasks you might be doing can be seen as menial and tedious. But your role will be to assist all full time team members, which means taking care of smaller, low skill tasks.

While this may seem backwards, it’s important to start with these tasks to understand the work environment and establish a professional footing. Once you gain more trust in your internship, you’ll likely be brought on to more projects with higher responsibilities and learning potential.

2. You’ll Be Shadowing Early On

Although it may be obvious when considering what to expect from an internship, you will be learning a lot from your peers. And that means you’ll likely be shadowing more senior members of the organization right away. That means you’ll want to come prepared and focused immediately, and to be attentive and organized on what you learn. Taking notes and asking lots of questions is important to help you understand the roles and responsibilities within’ the company.

This will be your first chance to learn the ropes and become comfortable with the work you’ll be doing.

3. Your Best Chance to Network

Networking in your internship is by no means a requirement, but it is a huge bonus to what you’ll be doing. Internships are a great opportunity to meet professionals in your career and can set you up for expanding your professional network. Through an internship, you can possibly find a mentor or get in with folks who can help lead you in to more opportunities down the road.

You can also potentially improve your chances of securing a full time role at the company you’re interning with if you produce good work. So when thinking about what to expect from an internship on a personal level, you should anticipate being social and expanding your professional network.

You can then use contacts to find jobs down the road. If you’re looking for full time jobs right now, be sure to check out ZipRecruiter.

4. Room to Improve Hard and Soft Skills

More than anything. what to expect from an internship is a chance to grow your skills. Because internships have lower expectations on ability, they are perfect opportunities to fine tune your skills. You’ll be focusing on improving your hard skills, such as technical duties, and soft skills, such as communication and organization. Before starting, you’ll want to set yourself personal development goals. Consider what skills you want to learn, and what areas you want to improve on personally.

While you’ll be expected to learn quickly (dependent on the organization), you’ll still have room to grow and learn.

5. Opportunity to Evaluate Your Career Path

While the internship might not be reflective of your dream career, it will give you insight on the industry. An internship in your field can help understand if it’s the right fit for you. And this is something you will definitely need to evaluate moving forward.

Analyze the daily responsibilities of your peers and the role they are in. Is what they’re doing daily interest you? Do they seem happy and fulfilled? What portions of the internship/company excite you? How can you use these takeaways to drive your career path? These are the things you’ll want to consider in regards to your career and future.

What Else You Should Know

If you’ve been considering what to expect from an internship, these notes should help guide you. Overall, internships are most importantly good experience to lead you to success down the road. While it may not be what you’re looking for in the future, it’s an amazing opportunity to build upon and help you gain skills, experience and build your professional network. So focus on making the best of your opportunity and enjoying the learning process!

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