10 tips on how to standout during your internship abroad
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
We want to help you standout from the rest during your internship and avoid just being ‘another intern’. So, here are 10 tips to ensure you make an impression!
Research the company before your first day.
You will feel a lot more confident if you go to your first day feeling prepared, and you will most likely have the chance to impress your co-workers or even your supervisor when they ask you ‘what do you know about the company?’. Go above and beyond : Research not only the company, but also the industry and their competitors.
Dress to impress.
Find out what the dress code and work environment are like in the office and aim to be the best dressed intern. It really does have a positive influence on how you will be treated by your new co-workers and how seriously you will be taken. If in doubt, dress up, not down.
Go above and beyond : Ask your supervisor or co-workers directly what they expect you to wear during your internship and if there are any special requirements or special events.
During an internship abroad it may feel like there is so much going on all the time; being in a new country, perhaps speaking a different language, socializing with locals and other international interns, and generally just getting comfortable with your new surroundings. So, it might be difficult to remember you’re also there to get things done. Your work will have an impact on the company and your new colleagues. Treat it like a real job, an internship abroad is a useful transition from being a student to becoming a professional.
Go above and beyond : Take on tasks, no matter how small, and avoid complaints at all costs. Your supervisor and colleagues will notice if you take your work seriously and do your work well and this will most likely lead to larger, more important, and more challenging tasks during your time as an intern abroad.
Remember the basics of etiquette. In this era of 24-7 communication it is easy to forget the basics of etiquette and face-to-face communication. The ability to communicate effectively is an indispensable skill to have in the workplace and for others to better understand you, who you are, and your value to the company.
Go above and beyond : Do not forget basic etiquette. Be punctual, say thank you, please, good morning, and goodbye to your co-workers, and look people in the eye when you are talking to them.
Keep busy and be pro-active.
Don’t wait for things to happen, be pro-active and find out if there is anything more you could be doing or helping with, and ask questions. Once you have finished a task, ask for new projects. This will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the company, your internship, and that you're willing to learn and try new things.
Go above and beyond : Get the contact details of your supervisor before you start your internship abroad and ask them what you can do or research before starting your internship.
Successful work relationships require a positive attitude. To get noticed make sure you take the initiative to introduce yourself and demonstrate a friendly attitude to each person you meet, from the receptionist to the Director of the company. Rather than being the ‘office intern’, integrate and become part of the team, and align yourself with their overall objectives. Get to know your colleagues and socialize. Step outside of your comfort zone.
Go above and beyond : Invite a different member from your team for a coffee every day, every two days, or even once a week, but just do it. You will not regret it, as people love to talk about themselves and their work, so it is a fantastic learning opportunity and an eye-opener for you.
Disconnect from social media during working hours.
There is probably nothing worse than an intern getting caught in the middle of checking their Facebook feed or updating their Instagram by their supervisor or co-workers when they should be working. This could be your ‘coup de grace’ and you may never be told what somebody saw you doing, leaving you perplexed as to why you’re not getting the opportunity to work on bigger tasks. Use your coffee break, lunch hour, or your commute for social media.
Go above and beyond : Leave your smart phone away from your desk, don’t take it with you to meetings, and only get it out during your breaks or when you leave the office for an off-site meeting.
Check and double-check every e-mail.
Check, double-check, and spell-check every e-mail you write before you click the ‘send’ button.
Read and re-read every e-mail you receive very carefully to double check the questions or instructions you’re given – every now and again we all miss something! Check if others were copied in the e-mail and make sure you reply to everyone you’re supposed to by clicking the ‘reply-to-all’ button.
Go above and beyond : It might feel easier and more efficient to e-mail a colleague who is just two seats away from you, but in certain situations you’ll make a huge impression if you get up from your seat and communicate directly with your colleague during your internship.
You will be surprised how your own personal brand can leave a positive lasting impression on anyone, so don’t be afraid to be authentic or different and show some personality. If this does not directly conflict with the team’s objectives or the organisations mission, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Ask your supervisor and/or co-workers for feedback on your internship abroad before your last day. Consider the skills you have learnt and the things you have done well and reflect on what areas you could improve;
Did you accomplish your personal goals? Did you exceed the expectations of your mentor and co-workers? Did you learn what you wanted to? Could you have done more?
Update your resume to demonstrate your new experience and achievements, and ask for a reference from your supervisor.
If you would like to know more about Colombia or what it's like to do an internship abroad in Colombia. Please contact a member of our team.
This blog post was written & published by Intern Colombia on 30 April 2018