Tips for Internships
Hello! I'm Jade and I will be your event officer for the society along with Francella this year! This summer, I completed an internship in Finance and as it is fresh on my mind, I thought I would give some tips I have gathered from speaking to other interns and reflecting upon my own experience!
Take ownership of your work
At the beginning when you initially meet with your manager, if you are not told you will be taking on a certain project or piece of work, ask if you can. It allows you to take ownership and gain a full understanding of that part of the role. Take and set goals you would like to achieve in the internship so that by the end you can look back and know you have had an impact. Sometimes this may not always be possible or you may have spare time on your hands. When this happens, do not hesitate to ask if there is anything else you can do to help the team. It will benefit the team as a whole and it will allow you to work on a variety of things and really develop in the short time you are in your internship.
Everyone makes mistakes, it's normal!
I spent half a day trying to create a report in Excel with barely any knowledge. When I finally admitted I was struggling to my manager, he called a colleague over and within 10 minutes, I had grasped exactly what was needed. Sometimes you have to ask for more clarification and help, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone on your team knows what it feels like to be new and to have to learn these skills! If you really think you are bothering someone, send them an email instead. That way they can choose to come over when it suits them best! If you don't understand something fully, ask for it to be explained again.
It is a two way street and communication is fundamental to the success of your internship. You learn more from your mistakes than you do from always getting it right the first time. Unless it is specified within the role application that they expect certain knowledge, they won't expect you to know everything. If you are unhappy or feel like you could be doing better or have an idea, speak to your manager. They want you to do your best in your role.
Setting up meetings to discuss work and to develop your understanding is key. Sometimes we all make the mistake of thinking this can be seen as demanding but having had feedback from managers, letting your manager set up meetings and not reminding them could give the impression of indifference. By taking the lead, it shows you are willing to take initiative, that you value the time you are asking for and that you are interested and keen to learn. Another part of being proactive is using your time in the company to see other departments you are interested in and to learn more about the areas surrounding your role. Not only will it help you develop a better understanding of your current role and the company, it will also allow you to gain further insight into potentially other roles you had not considered before. I personally spent a week in London job shadowing, thanks to my managers, and it was one of the best experiences I could have asked for. It enabled me to look and see where the data I was handling went to and how it was utilised. It also allowed me to meet a variety of people with a wide range of experiences who wanted to share their knowledge.
This leads me into networking. As a reserved person by nature, this word used to scare me slightly. But over the years I have learnt at the heart of it, networking is creating meaningful connections and these are truly developed when you have an interest in what's going on so be engaged and not afraid to ask questions that may seem obvious or even slightly off topic. I believe most of the connections I have actually made have come from just having conversations about work and how they came into their roles rather than at targeted networking events.
If your team are getting together for a social and invite you, try to join them. It will allow you to get to know them better and may ease your workplace nerves. If you are able to shadow other departments, speak to people there and get to know them as well as their role. Everyone has been in your shoes and understands how daunting the step into the workplace can be so don't be shy! Be vocal and confident
Last but not least, be vocal and confident. Whilst you may not know have years of knowledge, your opinions will be valued. It's better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all. If you are having an issue, try and go to your manager with a potential solution. This insight and input will show you have understanding of the task and may actually be the solution with a few tweaks.
I hope these tips will aid you in your future internships and do not hesitate to get in contact through our email (Uobwomeninfinance@gmail.com) if you have any questions!