Getting into a high school internship program is a great way to gain knowledge and experience, build your resume, and network with people and businesses that may help you accomplish your goals as you get older. Doing a great job and leaving with solid contacts will benefit you through college and beyond when looking for employment. Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door with a competitive employer.
Here are four tips to help you make the best of your high school internship program.
1. Dress for success.
Even though you are still a teenager, learning to dress professionally will help you in future positions, interviews, and opportunities. Female students should have at least one professional outfit with a blazer that they would be comfortable wearing to an interview or event if needed. Male students need to research the best mens pants for their size and a sports coat to go with them. Professional pants should not be sweatpants, polyester, nylon, cargo pants, or denim; rather, they should be khakis trousers, cotton dress pants, or dockers. Look for pants that are lightweight, have a relaxed fit, and have breathability so you are professional and comfortable.
2. Focus on scholarships.
An internship is an excellent opportunity to network and strengthen your scholarship resume. When applying for high school scholarships, most will want to know about your work experience, volunteer activities, and extracurriculars. You will also need reference letters or letters of recommendation from people who have witnessed your drive, motivation, and integrity. You will need people you are comfortable asking for a letter of recommendation from when applying for scholarships. A supervisor or advisor is perfect because they’ve gotten to know you personally and have seen your work professionally.
3. Learn everything you can.
Whether it is paid or unpaid, a work program provides you with an opportunity to learn from real-world experience. Not all high school students get that opportunity, so it is essential not to waste it. The best way to take full advantage is to stay focused, listen, and learn everything you can from the company and people you are working with. Take notes and ask questions whenever you can. As a high school student, your job is not going to be a highly skilled position, and it isn’t meant to be. Instead, it is intended to provide you with an opportunity to learn, so you need to appreciate it for what it is.
4. Leave on good terms.
Your supervisor, coworkers, and advisor are all people who could provide letters of recommendations, connections for future employment, and ongoing education. Do not leave on bad terms or do anything to burn the bridges you carefully built. Make sure you give your total effort up until the minute your time there is over. If you need to leave before the predetermined end of the program, provide a verbal and written two-week notice. Talk to your supervisor about what you need to do. Before the end of the program, meet with your supervisor to thank them for everything you learned and the experiences you had while working with them.
Never take your young age as a limiting factor when you are working toward your goals. You are never too young to excel in life and find success. You may have people around you filled with doubts or saying you are too young and should enjoy your childhood. While there is merit to the idea of not growing up too quickly, there is nothing wrong with being focused and determined from a young age, and those characteristics will help you excel in all areas of life.