AHIMA is proud to offer internships as a way for students to obtain practical work experience in conjunction with their formal education. Gaining real life experience can help students make more informed career decisions, which in turn, can lead to higher job satisfaction and long-lasting job retention.
No matter where your intern experience takes you, you can benefit from these useful tips and hints. They may seem simple, but your colleagues will notice.
- Be eager for a challenge
- Be yourself
- Be open-minded
- Be on time
- Know the dress code
- Observe and ask thoughtful questions
- Treat everyone you meet with respect and professionalism
- Understand that everyone makes mistakes
- Pay attention to the details
- Be proactive
- Show energy and interest
- Set goals for yourself
- Let a bad day get you down
- Take on more than you can handle
- Pretend to know something you don’t
- Have nothing to do
- Ask everyone the same questions
- Take yourself too seriously
- Talk negatively about co-workers
- Focus all of your attention on senior management
- Bring your personal life into the office
- Spend working hours on social networking sites or texting friends
We asked intern managers across the organization what it takes to turn a good student into a great intern. Here’s what you need to know to make a lasting impression.
What’s the best advice you can give an intern?
- Compile a list of goals you plan to accomplish so that you can make the most of your time.
- An internship can be one of the most exciting, fast moving experiences of your career. It’s also a very short time to begin to learn about all of the opportunities available to you. Take every chance to gain as much exposure to professionals as you can.
What do you think is the most important core quality an intern could have?
- Arrive prepared for the day, armed with new questions.
- Add value wherever and whenever you can.
- Always have a positive attitude in approaching your work and overall experience.
What are some classic mistakes that interns should avoid?
- Ignoring junior members of the team - they are key in the hiring process and can give the most relevant insights into the role and who you should meet.
- Being narrow minded in terms of what you want to do. Be open minded and listen to advisors and mentors.
- Not taking up offers of people's time. If someone asks you to join him or her for lunch, you should go. It is a precious opportunity.
In a competitive market, how can an intern differentiate him or herself from peers?
- Do not be afraid to ask questions. The more you engage the many resources you have, the more you will learn about this business.
- Take the initiative to expand your understanding of the business. This will highlight your commitment to AHIMA and its members.
- Know where you stand. Make sure you are progressing, networking with other individuals and focusing on delivering excellent work.
What’s the most important lesson/piece of advice an intern should take away with him/her?
- You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
- An internship is a learning experience, so make sure you have done your best to learn all that you can.