We all know that the main reason students do internships is to get what almost every recruiter looks for – “Experience”. But is that it? Is it just about learning new skills and getting some work experience? Have you ever wondered if there’s more to an internship? I mean apart from the perks and stipends of course!
Did you know we can also improve our soft skills while doing an internship? Well, sometimes we may not even realize that we are acquiring those skills, and other times if we put in an honest effort, we can easily hone those skills. In this article, we’ll learn how to improve our soft skills while doing an internship. Also, as an added bonus you will get to know some quick fun facts and tips about internships and acquiring soft skills! So, keep reading to find out!
1. Networking and Communication Skills
Learning how to communicate and network with other interns and your mentors both professionally and in a more casual setting, is one of the best soft skills you can acquire from internships! Having good communication skills means that you have great listening and presentation skills in addition to having a good command of the language.
Being an intern you are exposed to a surrounding filled with people of various standards and designations. It is very essential for you to communicate respectfully and behave well with anyone you are working with or for. If you can easily communicate with your peers and convey important information effectively in a project or task, you will be appreciated more by your mentors. Interacting with different people will help you understand how to deal with them. This will also improve your networking skills.
Fun fact: The term “soft skills” was created by the U.S. Army in the late 1960s.
2. Time management skills
Tick-Tock. Always be punctual and meet deadlines. Yes, sometimes you will find your work schedule extremely hectic but the internship experience will help to hone your time management skills while also enhancing your ability to multi-task efficiently. You should not take a leave of absence regularly during an internship as it marks the beginning of your work life and you don’t want to get a bad reputation so early in your career. The effort and time you spend on your internship will motivate you in the future as well!
Fun tip: Click here to read ‘How to get an internship at fortune 500 companies’
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.”
Always remember these words. People are different and hence their opinions can be different. We must realize that fact and respect their opinions. Doing an internship is a professional experience in which you learn how to embrace the diversity of individuals and ideas, and work with your peers to achieve common goals that contribute to the company’s success. You learn to work as a team during an internship without concentrating entirely on yourself. Even in situations where you disagree with others, you can learn to develop patience. Utilize this opportunity to identify individual strengths and weaknesses, and try working closely as a team to create a significant impact during your internship.
Fun fact: A public interest study conducted by McDonald’s in the UK predicted over half a million people will be held back from job sectors by 2020 due to lack of soft skills.
How to get out of your comfort zone and be familiar with the job environment is one of the most important soft skills that you need to learn during your internship. Adjustments and compromises are a part of getting adapted to the new work environment. In some situations, everything will seem new to you, but that should not stop you from putting your best foot forward. It is not just a skill required for students in their professional life but it is a must-have skill for your personal growth as well. Do not let yourself be bogged down by any hardships & insecurities!
Fun tip: Click here to read “how to learn and network in a tech community”
Every problem has a solution. Some problems may have more than one solution. It is the ability of an individual to find the ideal solution to a problem. An internship introduces you to real-life work issues and hence develops your problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skills require assistance from many other soft skills as well. For example, communication plays a huge role in problem-solving. So, while doing an internship there can be many problems which can only be solved by being patient & putting in our best effort. Being a problem solver does not mean knowing all the answers, but being a solution-oriented person during an internship can get you to great places.
Fun fact: The Nobel prize winner James Heckman claims that, “Soft skills predict success in life, that they casually produce that success, and that programs that enhance soft skills have an important place in an effective portfolio of public policies”.
6. Critical Thinking
This is another soft skill that you will be learning during an internship. Critical thinking is needed to analyze and judge complex situations or scenarios. This is also an important skill that is required for problem-solving. During an internship, you will have to face a new challenge every day, and with every challenge, you will learn a new way to handle a problem. You will learn how to analyze data, extract information, and use it in your internship to enhance business operations, suggest ideas and solutions according to your understanding of various aspects within the company.
Fun tip: Click here to read an interview by _______ on how he/ she bagged the ______ internship
7. Creative Thinking
Yes, we all know that every company wants to be unique and stand out among other companies. So, the best way to bring out a change is by being creative. Adding creativity to your work will enhance the quality of your work. Creative thinking usually happens during internships when a group of people brainstorms ideas and makes suggestions. Also, while interning, you work with experienced professionals and learn from them how to improve the practices currently followed and adapt new ones using the resources available in a creative way.
Fun fact: The National Soft Skills Association defines “soft skills” as a “complex set of personal qualities that help make an individual a positive and contributing member of any organization.”
These are just the top 7 soft skills that you can cultivate while doing an internship. The experience can change your perspective, ideas, and thoughts. Every experience will teach you more and mold you into a better personality. Scholarship Track highly encourages all students to do internships and follow the road to success!