With summer vacation comes the internship season. Some of you may have applied for the internship as a chance to equip yourself with the skills or knowledge for your career option before graduation. Or you may be one of those who would rather be on holiday in Seoul but is forced to be there because it is a compulsory requirement for graduation.
Drawing on his internship experience at DBS Group Human Resources, Jing Guang, the Former Vice President of Enactus Nanyang Polytechnic, has 5 tips to help you make the most of your internship:
Be Open to Opportunities
Supervisors may assign you work outside your initial job scope. Take them as an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and learn as you work with colleagues from other departments. Jing Guang embraced and had the opportunity to be part of the team involved in organising the Opening Ceremony of the DBS Academy. This was an experience which taught him project management and proposal writing skills.
Know your Job Well
With the vast amount of information available on the internet today, there is no excuse to not know your subject matter. Do your homework and research for information necessary for the work that you do. If in doubt, ask and seek advice. Having a clear understanding of your work helps you contribute towards the development of better solutions for the tasks assigned to you, and shows self-mastery and initiative. In Jing Guang’s case, he value-added to the team by offering ideas to help develop better training programmes for the employees and the organisation.
Building trust and relationships with your superiors enables you to take on additional responsibilities to stretch yourself. If you make mistakes, admit them and learn from them. Jing Guang shares his experience, “I was careless and made some errors when I was collecting data. I quickly made the necessary changes and that served as a constant reminder for myself to check my work. Subsequently, I was entrusted to prepare a step-by-step instruction manual on managing the electronic signages over 3 levels of the DBS Academy.”
Reflecting on your daily experiences helps you learn from mistakes and adapt to changes quickly. Whether it is through daily journal writing or through shared conversations, you should reflect on problems encountered, how they were solved, and conceptualise new ways to get better outcomes. Jing Guang arranged weekly 30-minute catch up sessions with two of his reporting managers to discuss his work progress and receive feedback on what he can improve on.
It can be as simple as asking if your colleagues need extra help. By demonstrating initiative to his reporting managers, he was given additional learning opportunities outside his job scope, such as to work on the reconciliation of e-learning libraries and attended meetings on programmes related to future-proofing their workforce.
“Through these opportunities, I could better understand how to structure training programmes to better meet the needs of the participants. I applied this back at my school where I gave a talk to 85 students on the topic of SkillsFuture and managed to convince most of my audience that the programme will be useful for them in the future.”
Jing Guang did a 10-week internship in the Learning & Talent Development team in DBS Group Human Resources. He was recommended by his mentor from the Enactus Singapore Responsible Leadership Program (RLP).