The Intern’s Guide to the Real World
Having your first internship can be really intimidating at first. But don’t worry, AD&V has got your back! We’ve put together these tips to help you thrive.
Here’s our Intern’s Guide to the Real World
- Develop New Skills
Sure – it’s important for you to keep building your strengths, but it’s even more important to work on the things that you’re not very familiar with. For example, if you don’t know how to use basic programs like Revit, SketchUp, or Illustrator (Adobe Creative Suite), learn how to use them. It’s very probable that you’re going to need those tools to complete assigned projects. The more skills you have, the more valuable you become.
- Don’t Settle
Don’t settle for what you already know. Do your research! Be in the now of the latest trends and software. Read books about industry topics you love. Look at magazines and periodicals. Follow other companies on social media. Subscribe to online blogs for content on topics related to your field, so that you can be informed and ahead of the game.
- Think Globally
THINK BIG. Do not limit your ideas locally. Envision your work on a bigger scale and make sure that it can be used anywhere in the world. Be curious about other countries and cultures, it will definitely come in handy when working with clients from other parts of the world. Once you’re ready to think globally, you will be ready for anything!
- Be honest
Honesty is the best policy. Don’t overdo it. Nowadays, many interviews include a surprise technical test, you don’t want to find yourself in an embarrassing situation. Remember, developing trust takes a long time, but it takes mere seconds to destroy that trust. Lack of honesty can lead to negative consequences.
- Set personal goals and keep yourself busy
If you find that you are finished with your assigned work, ask your supervisor for new projects or take time to learn more about the company you are working for. Set personal goals you want to achieve during the internship and keep yourself accountable. Goal setting is especially important because it ensures that you gain the relevant skills employers are seeking when hiring future full-time employees.
- Ask Questions
Take advantage of your position and ask questions about anything and everything that you don’t understand or things that you may not be sure how to do. We believe that interns who ask questions are motivated and really want to learn all they can about the industry or their position. As an intern, people don’t expect you to know everything about the job or industry. Internships are a great learning experience and the more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the job and how the industry operates!
- Find a mentor & develop personal relationships
As you dive into the professional world, you’ll learn that networking is extremely important in any industry. Learn from those you admire and develop a mentoring relationship you can continue long after your internship has ended. Professionals enjoy sharing their expertise and want to assist young professionals entering the field. A good mentor is someone who is willing to share their knowledge and expertise and wants to see you succeed in the field. Professional relationships are key to starting a successful career and you never know if you’re going to need a reference or recommendation from past work experience.
- Learn other languages
Any business begins with effective communication. English is the most common language to communicate with clients around the world. However, speaking or understanding another language can be extremely valuable in building relationships and improving communication. Being bilingual is a superpower any Intern can take advantage of! If you’ve been thinking about learning another language, don’t hesitate! This skill gives you an added edge!
- Be up to any challenge
You need to keep in mind that in any work experience there will be challenges. When I started at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, I was hired as one of the partner’s personal assistant. On my first day, the company hosted an event with renown New York-based textile designer, Lori Weitzner. They asked me to take pictures. I was very nervous and scared to cover this important event at first, but I quickly embraced the opportunity and jumped right into the task. It’s ok to be afraid, but do it anyway! The more diverse tasks you are able and willing to do, the more you will learn. My attitude and disposition paid off. I have assumed multiple responsibilities since joining the firm.
- Let your personality shine through
Be yourself! Don’t try to be anything that you’re not and most importantly, let your personality shine through. Being you is one of your superpowers. Embrace the unique person that you are and understand that everybody is different and brings something different to the table.
Internships can open the doors and prepare you for your professional career. In some cases, being considered for a job depends on how you developed during your internship experience. Remember, that any experience (good and bad) serve as a learning experience and adds a set of skills to your toolbox! Make the most out the opportunity. As long as you’re proactive, motivated, and eager to learn, you will have nothing to worry about.
Now, go get them!
Interested in joining our internship program? Click here to find out how!