As your teen begins to navigate the exciting and sometimes confusing world of work, one of the most valuable experiences they can have is an internship. Internships offer an opportunity to get a firsthand taste of a chosen field, explore interests, develop skills, and start building a professional network. At LEADPrep, we guide juniors and seniors to explore career fields and guide those who are interested to participate in internships on our Friday experiential learning days. The learning from these internships is impressive!
Here’s a guide to help your high school student become an intern who stands out from the crowd.
Finding the Right Internship
The first step to a successful internship is finding the right fit. Encourage your child to consider their interests and career aspirations. A tech-savvy student might benefit from interning at a software startup, while a budding journalist might look for opportunities at a local newspaper. Do they have a passion for social causes? A non-profit organization might be the right place for them. When LEADPrep students have been exploring careers, businesses have graciously allowed informational interviews to learn more about that profession.
Remember, the goal isn’t just to have an internship for the sake of it. It’s about gaining relevant experience and skills in a field they’re genuinely interested in.
The Power of Questions
Once your child has secured an internship, it’s time to learn as much as they can. One of the best ways to do this? Ask questions! As an intern, it’s understood that they’re there to learn. Encourage them not to hesitate to ask for clarification, more information, or insight.
Questions not only demonstrate a willingness to learn, but they also show initiative and engagement. It’s also a fantastic way to gain a deeper understanding of their role and the industry they’re exploring.
Developing a Strong Work Ethic
Being an intern is about more than just doing the tasks assigned. It’s about demonstrating a strong work ethic. This means showing up on time, meeting deadlines, and following through on commitments. But it also includes things like showing enthusiasm, staying positive, and being willing to go the extra mile.
Employers value interns who demonstrate reliability and dedication. So, remind your child that even small tasks are opportunities to prove their worth. Their attitude and work ethic can leave a lasting impression and could even open the door for future opportunities.
Networking: It’s More Than Just Meeting People
Networking might seem like a concept for seasoned professionals, but it’s never too early to start. Networking is more than just meeting people; it’s about building genuine relationships.
Encourage your teen to get to know their coworkers, supervisors, and even other interns. They should take advantage of opportunities to attend meetings, workshops, or company events. Each connection they make could be a potential reference, mentor, or even a future employer.
But remind them that networking is a two-way street. They should aim to bring value to the people they meet as well. This could be as simple as sharing an article relevant to their industry, volunteering for projects, or offering help to a coworker.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Rob Khoury, CEO of Agile Rainmakers, on the podcast where he shared not only how students can get the most out of their internships but how organizations can craft the best internships possible. Listen in here!
An internship is a stepping stone to the professional world, providing your child with valuable experience that goes beyond what they learn in school. But being an intern is more than just doing a job. It’s about being curious, reliable, and building relationships.
By finding the right internship, asking questions, showing a strong work ethic, and networking, your high schooler will not only get the most out of their internship, but they’ll also set the stage for future career success.
We’re excited to see where your teens’ intern journeys will take them. And remember, we’re here to support them every step of the way!