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5 Key Takeaways From My First Internship

One recommended way to expand our professional network and gain hands-on experience as an undergraduate is to venture out to find an internship of your own. Knowing that an internship not only provides the opportunity for career exploration and personal growth, I embarked on this internship with Wantedly, eager to put what I’ve learned into practice and accrue new skills and knowledge.

As this was my first internship, I could feel the pressure, nervousness, questions, and uncertainties rising. I worried about not knowing everything I needed to be successful. I was unsure if I would do well.

Now, after three months, I could not have asked for a better internship experience to build the foundation of my career. Aside from an office with excellent amenities (gym, our very own infinity pool, and free-flow kombucha and coffee), I was grateful to have supportive colleagues who check in on me and ensure I’m settling in well. From lunches to after-work chats, I got to know my team better as we shared stories and created memories together.

Here are five things I learned during my first internship experience:

#1 It’s Okay To Start Off Nervous

Starting an internship for the first time is exciting, but you may also feel nervous or uncomfortable coming into a new environment with new people to meet. Getting such job nerves is normal and something that most people will experience. I, too, was nervous on the first day of my internship.

However, I realised that it’s always important to take a step back and breathe. Remind yourself that you are not expected to know everything on your first day. Since the brain can only absorb so much information at once, note-taking will prove to be your best friend. Of course, there will be times when you feel as though the tasks you don’t know how to do are a sign you shouldn’t be in the job at all. When you feel bad that you aren’t performing as well at the start, remind yourself, that it will take time to get acclimated and that you won’t be new forever!

#2 Do not be afraid to ask questions

Ever heard of the quote, “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life”? It is better for a person to ask questions rather than not ask anything at all. I believe this is a key to help us in life, be it in our personal or professional one.

During my time at Wantedly, I had the chance to partake in team meetings. During such sessions, I find it handy to clarify my doubts by asking questions. Not going to lie; asking can be challenging. More than being afraid that asking for help would bother my colleagues, I was terrified of being seen as incompetent in my role. Yet, I realised that raising questions, especially in a group setting, enables further discussion. Perhaps, what you asked sparked the thought of someone else, or your question was something no one in the group thought of. If anything, asking questions helps move the conversation along and ensures you cover a variety of perspectives.

#3 Taking Initiative

Especially in a start-up company setting, it is essential to take initiative. By taking initiative, you’re taking ownership of the decision-making process and a key player in proactively getting things done. It is worth noting that you’re also taking responsibility for your success, and at the same time teaching yourself new skills.

During my internship, I proposed a few project ideas to my manager, and I don’t think these would be implemented if I lacked proactiveness. Rather than wait for my manager and mentor to give me instructions, I planned out my own schedule, factoring in time to learn about new software that could be used in the projects and linking up with relevant team members for further discussions.

#4 Having Good Communication

Through my time at Wantedly, I realised how communication plays a vital role in the workplace. Despite having a small team, there was strong teamwork in place. This is possible due to the solid internal communication established.

I’ve learned that good and effective communication skills are crucial in building business and personal relationships. When people feel listened to and understood, it creates clarity and boosts confidence as everyone will be encouraged to take the leap to ask questions when in doubt. This in turn, naturally leads to a more fulfilling relationship when you’re at work.

#5 Importance Of Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is something that shapes the overall character of an organisation. It combines business values, beliefs, traditions, behavior, and attitude, making it unique. Understanding the workplace culture of the place that you are working in will help you better integrate into the workplace quickly.

Thanks to Wantedly’s great company culture which invests in their employee's well-being and happiness, I have a positive experience at work and look forward to going to work every day. This directly impacted my day-to-day work where I feel a sense of accountability and am eager to contribute to Wantedly’s growth.

My advice to Wantedly’s next intern? Or really just any intern out there?

Here is my advice to you using the “WANTEDLY” way:

Worthwhile - No matter where you go, your time will be worthwhile. Even if your workplace has no relation to your prior background, you will still pick up new skills and grow as a person.

Attitude - Always have a positive attitude. Spreading positivity in the office will allow you to enjoy your time in the office and also helps create a healthy relationship with your co-workers.

Never be too quick to decide on what is best for you - Seize every opportunity; it is never too late to go into an internship regardless of your age or your years of experience. Don't be pressured by the uncertainties in the future, and start now!

Try new things - This not only helps us overcome our fears but also allows us to expand our knowledge and promote growth.

Enjoy your time during your internship,

&

Don’t forget to have fun! As an intern, you are there to experience and learn as much as possible!

Limits - Knowing your limits is the key to having a work-life balance which is very important to keep you focused and less burnt out.

You will be fine!

I hope that these tips will greatly help before you start your internship. I can proudly say that I am now more confident than ever to conquer my following internship. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me! All the best to whoever is reading this!

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