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September 22, 2017

How to Prepare Yourself Before the Start of an Internship

Written by

Tyler Evans

Landing an internship is one thing, but making a success out of it is another. A poor reputation can be hard to shake, so don’t show up unprepared! Here are five valuable tips to better prepare you for an internship.

1. Know Your Stuff

There’s nothing more frustrating for an employer than an intern showing up on the first day knowing absolutely nothing about the company or industry. In today's day and age, the internet makes information easily accessible to everyone. Take time to learn about the company, its products and services, and the employees who work there. Whether that means going through the company website or its social media accounts, brushing up on the basics will only benefit you in the long run.

If you need extra guidance, here’s how to go about conducting company research.

2. Brush Up Your Soft Skills

Soft skills are the essential set of characteristics that govern your ability to work effectively with others, including colleagues and business partners. The good news is that you can develop soft skills. The bad news is that it’s often harder than expected. Soft skills alone cannot qualify you for a job, but when paired with solid credentials, they can make you a much more attractive candidate for any job. Below is a list of the most important professional soft skills and resources to help you improve them:

- Strong Work Ethic
- Communication Skills
- Creativity
- Leadership Skills
- Team Working Skills

3. Understand the Art of Networking

Unfortunately, in today's world, it’s not about who you are - it’s about who you know. Networking has long been recognized as a powerful tool for businesspeople and professionals. You never know who you might be interviewing with down the line, so the more professional connections you have, the better! Building a strong professional network is key to getting ahead in your career:

- 8 Secrets from Power Networking Pros
- Top Networking Tips
- How To Network Like You Really Mean It

4.  Personal Goals

Set personal goals that you would like to achieve during your internship and, once the internship is over, make sure to reflect on them. Your goal doesn’t have to be far-fetched - it could be making a set number of professional connections or improving your time management, Goal setting is especially important for interns to ensure that you gain the most relevant skills to benefit you in future roles:

- The Awesome Power of Goal Setting
- 4 Tips for Setting Powerful Goals
- Developing Internship Goals

5. Find A Mentor

Learn from those you admire and develop relationships that will last long after your internship ends. Finding a good mentor not only makes a job less stressful, but increases your sense of purpose and job satisfaction. Plus, tapping into the wisdom of someone who already has experience in the field enables you to avoid rookie mistakes or career pitfalls your mentor has already taken!

- How to Find A Mentor
- 8 Qualities of a Good Mentor
- Finding A Mentor

You’ve secured an internship, but as you’ve seen, the hard work is far from over. Follow these five pointers to ensure you hit the ground running on day one of your internship.

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