Top tips for your first internship


Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Vision and Hearing Sciences
Course: BOptom (Hons) Optometry
Category: Vision and hearing sciences

15 December 2017

Internships and work placements can be hard but can teach you a lot. Here are my top tips for making the most of them.

With an internship, you may figure out which kind of career pathway you would like to go for (or, even, that you never want to work in the place like that again!).

Typical internships may include...

  • Research projects or case study.
  • Applying your educational background and knowledge to propose suggestions to the company.
  • Drafting press releases, speeches and briefings.
  • General office support.

Before the internship

  • Pinpoint a few internships that interest you.
  • Prepare a CV and cover letter that you can use to promote yourself for a specific internship.
  • Research the field and the company.
  • Get prepared for the interview.
  • Being honest and tell the interviewer why you would like to apply this role.

During the internship

  • Ask if you are not sure/don’t understand
    No one will mind if you ask questions (they will only mind if you didn’t ask). You may receive a lot of information that you have not heard/learnt before and you will probably forget some of what has been said. So remember bring a notepad and jot down what you have heard.
  • Don’t expect a high salary
    Working as an unpaid intern in some countries is legal. Even if you get paid, it will not be high salary. From my point of view, you cannot buy experience and internships may benefit your life. Therefore, it may worth to spend a month or above on this.
  • Try your best, that is enough
    You don’t need to try too hard and behave like the best person in the office. They will not expect you have a lot of knowledge of their field, or be able finish a lot of tasks within one day. They would like you to give some suggestions or comments from an outsider’s point of view. 
  • Be responsible
    Being punctual and responsible is crucial. If you can’t work on one day or will be late, give your supervisor a call. It shows that you respect the job and the supervisors. Also, it lets them know you are safe.

After your internship

  • Reflect on what you have learnt.
  • Think of the benefits to your future studies or work.
  • What can you improve in the next internship or job?


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