Before, During, and After an Internship
Navigating what you should do before, during, and even after an agriculture internship can be tricky, especially if it is your first internship. However, with a good work ethic and effective communication, you can ensure that you will have a successful internship that may lead you to a career in agriculture.
Before an Internship
Maintaining good communication with your employer and researching the company and position before you start your internship is vital, according to Jodie Rettinhouse, the Career Advisor at Chico State University. These actions will allow you to get many of your initial questions answered about your employer and your role as an intern. Take initiative to get answers to your initial questions about your employer and your role as an intern. Ask questions such as:
- Start and end date?
- What are the daily hours you will be working or will the hours vary by the day?
- What other employees will you be working with?
- Are there any anticipated projects that you will be working on?
- Proper dress in the workplace?
- Should you dress professionally or business casual if you are in an office?
- Do you need any Personal Protective Equipment or safety gear if you are working in a shop or in the field?
Don’t just rely on communicating with your employer. Take the extra step of visiting your workplace before your internship begins. Talk to your supervisor and fellow employees to build your network within the company. This demonstrates your enthusiasm and eagerness to be a part of the team.
During an Placement
Communication becomes even more valuable during your internship. If someone assigns you a task and you’re not sure how to proceed, ask for clarification without hesitation. If you don’t know how to complete a task, communicate this openly to your employer and express your desire to learn.
People often label the millennial generation as lazy and unwilling to work hard. However, those of us in agriculture understand the value of hard work and exceeding expectations. This skill not only benefits you during your internship but also earns you stellar recommendations and potentially a career at the company.
When you eagerly seek help and show a willingness to learn, you demonstrate a good work ethic, which is crucial in any internship or career. Chris Garmon, Deputy Manager for the Kern County Fair, shared that training interns proved beneficial as they efficiently completed tasks.
Megan Jacobsen, National Marketing Manager for Solutions 4Earth, highlighted the significance of finding mentors during an internship. These mentors push your limits and share industry insights, becoming valuable contacts throughout your career.
After an Internship
After completing your internship, write a thank you card by hand, expressing gratitude to your supervisor and all the colleagues who contributed to your learning experience.
Chris Garmon said, “These professionals understand that there is a need for the up-and-coming students to learn about their industry.” A thank you card reinforces that you have learned from these professionals and serves as a genuine way to thank your employer for their time and the effort they put in to train you and teach you. They are also a great networking tool!
LinkedIn is another vital platform for maintaining relationships with your supervisor and coworkers. Through LinkedIn, you can update them on your career advancements.
Staying in touch with your past internship supervisors and employers could be instrumental in landing a job post-graduation, as Megan Jacobsen points out.
“It’s about who you know and connections can get you very far,” said Megan.
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