You have worked really hard to secure an internship, here are some tips to make sure you make the most of it
Look like a professional
The firm you are interning with should have sent you an induction pack which includes information about the dress code. If they have not sent you information about the firm’s dress code, proactively reach out to your supervisor and ask. Being over or under dressed on your first day will make you stand out for the wrong reasons.
Research the firm beforehand
A little knowledge goes a long way. If you’ve read up on the firm and have some intelligent questions ready you’ll be able to show you’re genuinely interested in its work. It will also help you connect with your new colleagues. Firms are always impressed with interns who arrive well prepared with questions as it often leads to lively and interesting discussions.
Learning about the firm in advance can also help you overcome nerves and break down barriers. After all, everyone likes to talk about themselves, and asking questions about people’s work is a great conversation opener.
Top Tip: If it is a medium to large size firm, search the firm’s name on Google and click on the “news” tab to see if the firm has been on the news recently.
Network during your internship
You can use your internship to build contacts as well as knowledge – after all, relationship management is an essential skill and most certainly part of any future work. Social events such as post work drinks, lunches or dinners are a great opportunity to network and quiz colleagues. Do be careful not to drink too much, though.
Use your time with the firm to network and build relationships. Not only will it impress your peers but it will also provide you with an invaluable insight into the firm’s culture.
An internship also gives you the chance to practice working with groups of people you might not have come across before and explore how best to work with them. This is the kind of skill that could give you the edge at future interviews, for example when answering questions such as ‘Can you give an example of how you dealt with an unfamiliar situation?’ or ‘Tell us about when you worked with a difficult person’ or for answering that application form killer question –‘Why do you want to be work in this industry?
Get stuck in
Finding yourself in a professional setting after student-style living can be something of a culture shock but enthusiasm can help you fit in and get on. It’ll also help you impress recruiters and other staff. One of the most important things that you can do to stand out is to be enthusiastic and engaged. Remember that while few weeks is a great opportunity for you to get a good look at a firm, the firm will also be taking a good look at you as well.
Prioritise your workload
You need to come across as reliable and organised, clarifying the urgency of tasks given to you by fee-earners. Find out when the work is needed by and make sure you deliver the work before that deadline. Also, always remember to take along a pen and paper to meetings. And be aware that certain tasks may require coming in early or staying late
Be a professional
Use your initiative and ask members of the team for work if you’re not very busy. Not only will it demonstrate enthusiasm and an understanding of the importance of fee-earning work, it will also give you the opportunity to get to know everyone. Beware of personal tasks infringing on work time, such as personal phone calls, personal e-mails, cigarette breaks and long lunches.
If you go to a client meeting, remember you are there to observe and wait until after the meeting before offering up your thoughts. Let those around you know when you are going to client meetings or will be out of the office. It’s important that your supervisors know exactly what you’re working on at any given time.
Keep a record of your work experience
With so much packed into an internship it can be difficult to remember everything. Consider keeping a diary or some notes if certain aspects of your time with a firm grab your attention. That way, if you decide to apply to the firm you’ll have some ready information for your application form and interview. This will also come in handy when you are editing your CV and adding your experience on to it.