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Focus On Career Growth

It is easy to get bogged down in daily routine, but proper planning can help you devote attention to your professional development. As the pace of working life continue to speed up, so too will your to-do list. While the list usually covers the day-to-day tasks, items addressing your professional development rarely find a place on it.

Simply relying on the ad-hoc development of key skills and expertise would mean short-changing yourself, and will most often fail to deliver the ideal career progression. Instead it is essential to have focused and strategic plan that helps you improve and make significant professional developments. Career transitions such as a new role, promotion or relocation are the most common triggers to change your work approach.

Key Strategies

Work out where professional development figures in your list of priorities. Obviously, there will be core pieces of work that take precedence over everything else. But after accounting for those, can you then reallocate time for your development? Write down some professional development goals that you want to achieve.

These must be measurable, realistic and easily definable. Be flexible in your approach, and allow for delays due to other demands on your time. If you miss a day, then allocate time on another day so that you can catch up. Observe the work approach of people you admire.

Then learn from them. Most will be flattered to become your mentor. You can get a lot of useful information from them. Make sure you meet them in a more informal setting, such as over lunch, dinner or office drinks. Most organizations have managers or professionals who can assist in your transition and professional development.

If not, there are professional coaches who can provide the tools and the plans to get there. Understand your work style and strengths, and them to your advantage. To ensure a well-rounded skill-set, work on your strengths as well as your weaknesses. This takes a high degree of honest and objective self-analysis and sometimes may require someone else to hold the mirror for you. Ask your colleagues for feedback on areas you can improve.

Success Tips For Interns

You  have finally landed yourself an internship opportunity. Do not just stop there and let the journey unfold without making any preparations. A successful internship demands planning and hard work.

Here Are Some Tips On How You Can Capitalise On Your Internship Experience

Before The Internship

Conduct Research

Do research on the company that you have been assigned to. This can be done by surfing the Internet or talking to people who have had experience with the company, for example, former interns, friends, relatives or lecturers. Useful information includes the company's background as well as its products and services. Learn more about the industry the company is in, its competitors, buzzwords, trends and concepts. If possible, find out details relating to the specific department that you have been assigned to and its job functions.

Set Your Goals

Next, set your personal and professional goals for the internship. Perhaps your goal is to gain industry exposure while getting your foot in the door of a potential employer. Or perhaps you aim to learn new skills or build your network. Whatever the case, ensure your goals are realistic and attainable.

During The Internship

Be Attentive

Stay focused during the orientation programme. Take notes if necessary. Be attentive even the most basic work processes, for example, observe how fellow colleagues answer the phone, and the protocols they adhere to when greet' the top bosses.

Take The Initiative

When you notice your colleagues caught up with projects always ask if there is anything you can do to help. People love those who know how to to the initiative. Let your supervisor know specific things you would like to learn or do. If you have particular interest, and you  know help is needed in that area, ask if there is any way you can be involved.

Tackle Tasks With Enthusiasm And A Positive Attitude

Expect to be given some mundane work to do, such as making photocopies or doing data-entry work. Whatever it is, treat all your work assignments with enthusiasm and professionalism. Never complain or do such tasks half-heartedly, as very often, such errands are used to "test" your abilities before you are allowed to progress to other types of work.

Ask Questions

An internship is a learning experience, so do not be afraid to ask questions. Seek advice and raise questions whenever you face a problem that you do not know how to solve. Preventing a mistake is always better then resolving one.

Speak Up And Offer Suggestions

Being an intern does not mean your opinion is not valued. A good idea or suggestion will not be ignored. As long as your idea can be backed up with facts and evidence, who says an intern cannot come up with a million-dollar idea?

Establish Your Network

Networking is an important tool in the professional world. Relationships built with supervisors and colleagues are vital as they serve as a good source of job-hunting advice and tips. Even if you do not have a very good experience while on internship, do not burn your bridges. Always leave on good terms.

Enjoy Yourself

An internship does not have to be serious or boring. Have lunch with your colleagues. Participate in community or social activities organised by the company while you are there. It is acceptable to have some fun while on your internship as long as you keep it within professional limits.

Before The End Of The Internship

Letter Of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation from your supervisor can be especially useful for your future job search. Ask your supervisor if he is willing to be your referee or write a letter of recommendation, while your performance is still fresh in his mind. But do not take for granted that he will write the letter for you immediately. Give him sufficient time to do so.

After The Internship

Write A Thank-You Note

Send a thank-you note to your direct supervisor and anyone else who has been supportive during the internship.

Stay In Touch

Continue to stay in touch after you have left the company. Nurturing relationships with business contacts is important towards building your professional network and developing your career.

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