Thursday, December 31, 2015

How to make the most of internship

Annette Nabisukiro never went through the hustle of job-hunting.
During her second year at university, she was required to find a place for her internship. She wrote many applications which went unanswered. Then one day she received a call to sit for an interview. Unfortunately, on the same day of the interview, she had to sit for an exam at university.
She opted to sit the exam instead of the interview.
“I was disappointed because that was the organisation I thought I would carry out my internship from. I even tried talking to the human resource manager to allow me join her firm in vain,” Nabisukiro says.
With desperation creeping in, Nabisukiro found a broker who promised to find her a place to do her internship. He disappeared after she paid him Shs150,000.
Luckily her lecturer found her an opening in Arua.
While in Arua, Nabisukiro worked and took her internship seriously. This she did by completing her assignments on time, always asked whenever she needed help and always brought forward ideas she thought would be helpful to the organisation but most importantly always kept time.
This impressed her supervisors who recommended she is retained and transferred to the Kampala branch of the firm after the 12 weeks. This helped her work while studying. By the time she completed school she already had a job and did not have to look for one.
According to Mr Henry Nsubuga, the head of counseling at Makerere University an intern who is fit to be retained is one who exhibits qualities of a good employee, puts more effort in what he or she is doing. This means he or she does not have to do the work just as a student who is there because it is a course requirement.
Learn names
One of the most important tasks during the first week is to learn the names of everyone your department, and in outside departments with whom you’ll interact frequently.
Learn the office work flow
Don’t pretend you know how things around the office function when you are clueless. It’s okay to ask your supervisor how a certain programme work.
Learn real skills
Internship can also be about gathering legitimate professional experience and skills to set yourself up for an entry-level job.
Track your accomplishments
It’s a good idea to be proactive about keeping track of accomplishments. Doing so will help if you want to take on more responsibility during the internship, and will also make it much easier to update resumes and portfolios.
“The student should use this as an opportunity to get a job because it is from internship that most people get employment. This only happens when the intern impresses the employer with his or her work,” he says.
An intern, Mr Nsubuga says, it is not just the student who is looking for knowledge from an organisation, but the organisation is also looking for one who can also add value to it. This is due to the fact that the student is fresh from school so he or she will bring in the knowledge acquired and put it into practice.
These new skills may be used by the organisation and with this there will be value added to the organisation.
In order to succeed like Nabisukiro, Mr Isaiah Kitimbo, a human resource expert, advises that interns, on top of dressing up appropriately, should always be a team player in the organisation because the team helps an intern to learn more skills from other senior team members faster and for future opportunities.
In case of any office rules, an intern should make sure they observe them.
Internships are meant to help a student gain relevant experience in a particular career field. As an intern, you are expected to ask your supervisor for work related to your field of study. PHOTO Stephen Wandera
The early bird
“This is due to the fact that the working environment is totally new when you have just graduated. There will be instances where you will need to be patient. Don’t grumble when you are told to wait or follow office protocol,” Mr Kitimbo says.
“Also, a student should always report early to work and keep time for office meetings. This helps you to accomplish tasks ahead of the set deadlines, especially if you had some pending ones the previous day.”
Focus is important if you are a fresh graduate. This is because you will probably find many interesting as well as nerve-wracking things at the workplace.
For example, there will be moments for open invitations to free luncheons and evening parties outside office, including engaging in activities that do not directly contribute to your daily work targets.
“But as an intern, you need to concentrate on the most productive activities other than the non-productive ones, which include gossiping, gambling and spending valuable time on social media. Sieve all activities that do not make a positive contribution to your life and work targets,” Mr Kitimbo says.
Though employers might not take you on after your placement, experts say this is the time theu will be looking out for prospective employees.
“It is, therefore, advisable that you ask to be given work to do. Otherwise you will have wasted your time,” Mary Namanya, an employer says.
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