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5 Tips For Your First IT Internship

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5 Tips For Your First IT Internship

You’ve gotten your first IT internship, and it starts soon. How can you not only do well in this internship, but make it count towards your long term career success? Learn some tips for your first IT internship in this article.

1. Ask Lots of Questions

You know when people say “don’t ask stupid questions”? Well I don’t think that’s true at all. Especially when it comes to internships for your career. It’s better to ask as many questions as you can, even if they do seem stupid. To really learn a lot and do well in your internship, it’s a good idea to ask a lot of questions. Ask your boss, ask your colleagues, ask people you see around the office. This is the best way to learn. Word will get around that you’re the intern. Everyone knows what it’s like to start a new role, especially when you’re young, so they will likely offer their help. Asking lots of questions is a good way to learn about your role, the company, and the industry you’re working in.

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2. Make A Good Impression

This tip might seem pretty obvious, but it’s important to make a good impression. A good impression means making sure you create positive thoughts with your employer, both immediately and in the future. They should be able to think of you and immediately think that you are hard working and professional. This is important both for starting an IT internship and if you’re starting a new IT job. Some of the ways you can do this include:

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  • Dress professionally for the office. If you’re not sure what to wear, ask before you go to the job. The rules depend on the company’s dress code, which means you could be wearing a suit and tie, shirt with suit pants, or a collared shirt with jeans. Any combination like this is common in office environments, so make sure you find out which one is appropriate.
  • Arrive on time and don’t leave early. One of the most common mistakes young IT workers make is arriving late to work. It sends a very good message if you constantly arrive on time or early for your work day. If your day starts at 9, don’t arrive at 9:10, arrive at 8:45. It’s better to be early. Also, the same goes for leaving on time. It’s better to leave after your set finish time than before it.
  • Focus on work. Don’t let the distractions of the outside world interfere with you when you’re meant to be working. This includes phone calls, personal browsing, Facebook, sending text messages and running errands. Leave this for your lunch break or after work.

3. Take Lots Of Notes

When you start a new role as an IT intern, it can be quite overwhelming. It’s a good idea to get a pen and paper and take notes wherever you go. Write down the things that you learn, people’s names, systems, dates, plans, and decisions that are made. It’s useful to do this as it helps you remember things, it helps you learn, and it can help when looking back to things at a later date. Take your notepad and pen to any meetings you go to and take notes there. Bring it when you go to other people’s desks, in case you need to write something down. It might sounds like a lot of work, but if you’re able to remember something or help someone because of some notes you took, it makes it worthwhile.

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4. Find Out The Chances Of A Full Time Position

Many companies that offer internships also have openings for full time positions. These positions could start straight after the internship, or they could be available at a later date when the student graduates. Other organizations don’t offer a chance for these to turn into full time positions. Other companies only offer them to the best interns, with most of them missing out. A good thing to do while on your internship, perhaps near the end, is to find out the process for moving into a full time role. If you like the job you’re doing, or like the company and want to get a full time role with them, it’s a good idea to ask. Ask your boss how the process works, ask them if they offer full time positions to those interns who are interested. They should be able to tell you how it works, or show you someone who can. If all else fails, at least you got some good experience with a company, and you could even apply for a full time position when you graduate using the normal methods, such as via job ads.

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5. Remember Everyone’s Name

A great way to stand out from other interns, and even other employees, is to remember everyone’s name. You’ll likely meet a lot of people on the job, and it can be hard to remember everyone’s name. It will be worthwhile if you can, though. Try writing them down after you meet them. Write down something that you remember them by (that isn’t personal or insulting). If you meed one of the General Managers, write down their name next to GM so you can remember. If you remember where they sit, or where you saw them, write that down too. Little notes like this can help you remember people’s names. Other people will also come to you and ask for names of others if you remember names well, which also makes you stand out.

I hope the tips in this article are useful to you if you’re starting an internship soon. Good luck!

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More by this author

Ben Brumm

Ben is a business analyst and software developer. He shares career advice on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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