Are you going to intern somewhere this summer? Or are you planning to do that after your graduation? Never done it in your life? Are you willing to improve your “internship hunting capabilities”?
If so, you are just looking at the right column!
For two months I will be telling you everything about the internship, both in terms of technicalities, like the CV and the cover letter, and of attitudes, like energy and autonomy.
In a midsummer’s time: a midsummer’s internship guide. Today’s hot topic is: the “Quality of the Internship”!
O for Opportunity Thought
You have just received a difficult task to do from your tutor. You start analysing your constraints: time, assets, setting, etc. You notice that some items are too scarce and even worst: you don’t know how to fix this problem. So, you get anxious and worried. What’s the matter with you? You are thinking using only Bond Thought. Conversely, you should try to balance it with its opposite: Opportunity Thought.
According to the psychologists, Bond Thought allows you to analyse the feasibility of projects. It’s ok, but if you don’t bring with you also “Backbone” and “Energy”, Bond Thought will lead you to a melancholic mood. As a therapy, it is worth adding also a bit of Opportunity Thought in your mind. That is: be creative! Think about a different way to do things, in order to overcome the constraints that seems to stop your ideas.
Warning: I don’t mean you should restructure the firm you’re interning in to make your ideas happen. Opportunity and Bond Thought should be balanced. Moreover, since you’re working for someone else, be sure to meet the company goals in your work (see “Goals Within The Company”).
P for Punctuality
You’re just standing in front of the mirror, checking everything’s perfect before going to a job interview. Pay attention also to another thing: time.
One of the most unpleasant things for recruiters is meeting late-comers: not exactly a good first impression of yourself (see “Interview”). The same goes during your internship: you can be the “smartest guy in the firm”, anyway you’ll make a poor figure if you are not punctual.
So, don’t arrive late (almost) everyday making up childish excuses for your delay: in the long run, you’ll ruin your career by building a fame as a liar late-comer. Instead: leave home in advance to make sure to arrive on time. In this way, even a low-intelligent intern has a good probability of being considered trustful.
Q for Quality of the Internship
You’ve just been selected for an internship. You’re absolutely excited about that! But suddenly a doubt comes to your mind: will I learn anything else apart from photocopying papers for my boss?
The answer is two-sided. Good news: there are 4 “ex ante quality signals” to better understand whether your internship will be a good quality one:
- A meaningful and challenging learning project;
- A good percentage of ex interns hired;
- Some kind of pay;
- Optimistic feedbacks from previous interns.
Bad news: you will be 100% sure about that only ex post. Eventually, “bad employers” are not interested in let you know that: if they did it, they would have attracted only “kamikaze-candidates”. Still, some “ex ante quality signals” are not so easy to know, like the percentage of ex interns hired. Here you are 3 “ex post quality signals”:
- The firm keep the promises made in the hiring process;
- Your tutor truly helps you and gives you handy feedbacks;
- You really learn something new.
Hence, how trying to avoid “bad employers”? Ultimately, trust your University Career Office, available in most of today’s universities. Its staff is certainly more skilled than you in evaluating an internship ex ante. Further, if you unfortunately notice ex post that you’ve met “bad employers”, you can ask University Career Office to intervene, and, at a last resort, you may explain them the situation and resign from your internship. I’ll come back to “University Career Office” near the end of the column.
By Valentina Magri, MA student in Management at Bocconi University