Networking in China

How can you make the most of your internship?

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Working in Asia

Internship in ChinaSo, this is it; you have landed your internship! You bought business-casual clothes, a laptop bag, and modified your LinkedIn account. You are all set to start working! First days are difficult; you struggle with information overload and you continuously forget to have lunch. You don´t remember anyone´s names and seem to have developed a phobia of opening your mouth. You think maybe you should have just taken the part time job at the cafeteria next door. That´s all perfectly normal, so don’t worry - you´ll be up and running in no time.   

Once you are settled in, your internship can take either of the following scenarios. The first one is that you do not get enough tasks and you become bored. You feel like you are wasting everyone´s time, including yours. Second one is that you are working your fingers to the bone for free. You feel like ‘internship’ is just a 21-st century word for slavery.

But either way, you chose the internship and there was a reason for that. It is a temporary option and you know making it to the end has its perks. Nobody likes quitters. If it becomes overwhelming or boring, ask yourself why you started and start making the most out of your internship. Here are a few suggestions.

Why am I doing this internship?

Before you begin your internship, write down the reasons you chose the option. What are you hoping to gain from the experience; either certain skills, connections or school credits? Also, what do you want to achieve by the end of it; do you want to land a job with the same company, or just get the experience? Perhaps you just want a taste of the job, to find out if it fits you. Whatever it is, make sure you know it. By writing these things down in the beginning, you can always turn back to them, when you´re losing motivation.

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Ask many, many questions 

Knowledge is power. You are there to learn, and asking questions is your fundamental right. Don´t be afraid of looking daft, you are an intern after all; people will presume you are curious and eager to learn. Don´t assume you know things or try to appear smart. It will come back to bite you. You might think that people are too busy or too important to answer, but really, people like to teach. Besides, everyone is happier if a task is delivered correctly, and all the details are well-understood. You´ll also gain a lot more from the internship by asking questions and therefore learning more.

Keep an updated to-do list

It can get hectic during internships. People rarely coordinate the tasks they hand out to interns, so its your job to keep an updated to-do list nearby. Make sure you prioritize. Ask for deadlines, don´t assume. Prioritize tasks by deadlines, but also by personal gain. The internship is a chance for you to gain the skills you need. If you end up only doing tedious tasks, it will not benefit anyone. Besides a masterful delegator. A to-do list is also a handy reference for your manager, in case you find yourself in one of the aforementioned scenarios.

Show initiative

Try to challenge yourself to take up extra tasks. Ask if you can participate in meetings and prepare for them. Offer your insight and don´t be afraid. People value unexpected input. In the scenario where you don´t get enough tasks, create them yourself. Some companies are just not used to having interns, or they have previously encountered only seat warmers and school credit earners. This is where you step up and show willingness to work. Because, delegation is also work, and some managers are poor at it. So, make their work easier and propose some tasks. It shows you are attentive and proactive.

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This is exactly the time to gather useful contacts. Take part in company events and meet people. Even if you don´t land a job at the same company after the internship, you might meet your future employer at some of these events. You will also meet possible mentors, people who you can turn to for valuable advice. Connections are vital nowadays, and don´t worry if you are a networking noob. Be sincere, listen and show interest in other people. Plus, free food at networking events is a good money saving tip for interns.

Ask for help

Don´t be afraid to ask for help, and let people know when you are feeling overwhelmed. Be honest at all times. Don´t feel like you need to impress people. Because, when you´re anxious and stressed, your work suffers. You lose focus, you become sloppy and won´t have energy for precious networking. You have a whole career path ahead of you, it´s not cool to burn out during your internship years. It helps to find a confidant in the office, a senior employee, who you feel most comfortable turning to with your issues.

Making friends during your internship

Always do more than is expected of you

You can make the most out of your internship by delivering great work at all times. Be caring, volunteer to help people in other departments, offer a hand doing tedious tasks. Show commitment and passion, so people see that you are not there only to build your resume or earn school credits. Don´t just do things to cross them off your list but make every experience count. Put in extra hours if needed but be mindful of the previous point.

Ask for a letter of recommendation and feedback

At the end of the internship it´s good to reflect on your work and ask your colleagues for constructive feedback. It´s something you can use on your motivational letter for highlighting your strengths. Ask for a letter of recommendation. Even if many companies don´t use them anymore, it is something to remember your internship by. Hopefully, accompanied by new skills and connections for a lifetime.

So, if you are struggling with a boring internship, take off your headphones and take action. If you feel overwhelmed with your workload, ask for help and prioritize. If you are still thinking where to do your internship, we have a solution for you


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