MAKING THE MOST OF AN INTERNSHIP PLACEMENT
In recent times, it has become a norm to find firms, organizations or corporations being barraged with tons of internship application from students across various educational institutions. This apparently is unconnected from the fact that students intend to gain a competitive edge over their contemporaries by acquiring the requisite learning experiences and knowledge from a team of experts in their chosen fields. Gracefully, a considerable number of these students are granted this internship placement at various firms or organization. It is however disheartening to note that more often than not, some interns end up whiling away time during their internship programme without any meaningful or significant achievement in the long run. As a guide to maximizing internship opportunities, the following tips come in handy.
- DON’T LOAF AROUND
Often, during internship programmes, some interns try as much as possible to avoid being assigned certain tasks because of their apparent laxity about work. They spend time in idleness watching movies (thanks to the free internet access provided by the firm), playing games or surfing their various social media accounts with no recourse to the impression they create or the long-term impact such actions result into among workers of such firm. Regardless of how one gets an internship placement, such golden opportunity should not be taken lightly. As an intern one should be actively engage in learning from such firm through the work assigned or firm’s practices (including research, legal drafting, case review, court sessions, departmental or general meetings, debriefing, etc.). As much as possible, one should try to be involved at one worthwhile task or the other. Get around the office (if no assignment is coming forth) and ask if you could be of help to any of the lawyers. By definition, an intern is a person who works to gain work experience or expertise. Nothing short of this is expected of an intern. Be true to who you are!
- EXCELLENTLY AND DILIGENTLY CARRYOUT EVERY TINY PIECE OF WORK
When assigned a specific task, regardless of how ‘little’ it might seem, it is advised that you give it your utmost. Give it your best shot because there might not be a second chance to make a first good impression. Handle the assignments you’re being given efficiently and excellently. Do it passionately well! Seek proper guidance, clarifications and guidelines if the work seems compounded. Avoid giving a shoddy and sloppy work to your superiors – it speaks ill of your work ethic and assiduousness as a budding lawyer.
- ENDEAR YOURSELF TO MEMBERS OF STAFF
There is no gainsaying the fact that the level of relationship one creates in the course of an internship programme is very crucial to one’s career in the long-term. The people you form good bond and rapport with today may be key to your success tomorrow. It is thus important that you create an endearing relationship with not just senior members of the firm (such as Partners, associates, etc.), but also the administrative and clerical staff of such firm. I could recall vividly that after my internship at a top-tier firm in Nigeria, I still find the relationship I had established with the Librarian very much useful as I often sought guidance and assistance in a number of academic issues I had to grapple with. Exchange pleasantries regularly; strike up very sensible and career-oriented communications; laud their feats and contribution in any worthwhile engagements.
- FOLLOW UP ON ESTABLISHED RELATIONSHIPS
This last port of call is a milestone that indicates how well you’ve related with members of the firm during your internship programme. Many a times, we tend to underestimate the richness of this treasure-chest. It is often said that your networth is intrinsically determined by your network. In this jet-and-knowledge-driven dispensation, it has become seemingly easier to keep close tabs on people, particularly with the internet. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp are common social media platforms you can leverage on to stay in close touch with your contacts or network of professionals and eminent personalities. Yimika Adesola – founder of Legally Engaged – judiciously suggested that you “invest in your relationship with your contacts after the internship. Do not bombard them with emails and calls, but add them on LinkedIn, be visible on (their) LinkedIn and send a message every now and then.” Send courtesy messages as often as possible especially, during special occasions.” Doing this not only ensures a better affinity with them, it facilitates breakthrough opportunities for your career advancement.
In conclusion, it is very important one maximizes every internship opportunity to one’s advantage notwithstanding one’s peculiar conditions. The legal profession is becoming more competitive daily. One cannot afford to be lagging behind. Hence, one needs to be on the cutting edge in acquiring first-hand experience and skills needed to excel and pitch your tent at the pinnacle of your chosen career. Maximize that internship placement, as it comes your way!
Obafemi Awolowo University