How Young Professionals Should Approach HR Internships

What is the mindset and approach that young professionals should adopt when entering into HR internships?

The industry of human resources is rich and diverse, seeing private and public sectors alike tapping into this field of expertise.

As the old guard transition into retirement, it is time for the next generation to be integrated into the fold.

The best means of walking new professionals into the landscape is through an internship, a part-time or full-time opportunity for youngsters to earn real life experience and understand what standards and expectations are necessary to thrive in a profession of this profile.

There are certain attitudes and behaviours that will see a percentage of these workers thrive, and a contrasting percentage who will fail.

Here we will outline how the former succeed.


Be a sponge for work and knowledge

Asking for work and advice are key pre-requisites for HR internships. The more initiative you can show the higher the esteem you will be placed in as an intern. This will enthuse managers to promote you for available positions and allow you to climb the corporate ladder. No one can do the work for you and no one will be your own advocate in the workplace, so engage those professionals who have the experience to lean on.


Showcase your multi-tasking skills

There is every chance that you will view HR internships as a pathway to a very specific job title. Yet those that are able to multi-task between simultaneous projects thrive in these types of professional environments. From payroll and accounts to recruitment, planning and coordination to reviewing performance and screening for new additions, the more skills you have within an organisation, the greater the asset you will be considered by the company.


Be punctual

The act of turning up might sound like a very basic pre-requisite and a low bar to reach, but half the challenge with HR internships is being punctual. This illustrates to the manager, the hierarchy and your fellow colleagues that you have initiative and you are motivated to excel at the job you have been awarded. Those high school and university graduates who treat these placements like an office vacation will encounter all manner of problems, and it is not hard to see why. Punctuality shows respect for the organisation and the people that exist within the walls of the building, so arrive early and be present as often as you physically can.


Don’t prejudge colleagues based on their profile

The world of HR internships when boiled down to the essentials is all about people. How do you deal with people at their best, their worst and between the hours of 9am to 5pm? From the older veterans to fellow young colleagues and experts in various fields from different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and abilities – each individual deserves to be respected and judged on their own merits. That is not only the right approach to make from a moral standpoint, but it illustrates healthy HR practice.


Locate your mentor

The final approach that young professionals should embrace with HR internships is an idea that links back to our very first suggestion. As you scour the office for managers and department officials who will help you on your path, there should be one individual in particular who can act as your mentor. Ideally an experienced operator who has trodden the same path, this will be a professional who is willing to give you the right tips whilst acting as a sounding board for your questions and concerns. Internships can be stressful for the young workers who are struggling to adapt and fit into the environment, so sourcing these operators will help alleviate those anxieties.


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