Here are 10 tips on how to become an all-star intern most any company will want to draft in the first round.
1. Have a good attitude.
No one likes to work with someone that is irritable or is just outright uninterested. It is amazing how much of a difference just having a good attitude will do for you. Having a good attitude involves being excited to be a part of the organization, greeting people as you see them around the office, and never acting disgruntled with a task given to you. At the end of the day, you are an intern. Although most employers try their hardest to give you live tasks that will be beneficial for you, most internships will involve some tasks that aren’t the most exciting. If you are incapable of taking these assignments on and producing good work, there is a high chance that you will not get the more interesting work when it comes in.
2. Be the first one in the office in the morning and the last one to leave.
You are interning for someone that has taken a chance on you and believes in you enough to hire you. Don’t forget that it is a privilege while you are there. Take advantage of the opportunity and make every minute you are interning count. If you leave at 5:00 p.m., when you could have stayed until 6:00 p.m., you have let an hour of learning slip away. There are some people that are more intelligent than yourself in the given field, so take advantage of having access to them while you can.
3. Do not be a robot.
If the person you are working under gives you an assignment, don’t just do the bare minimum. Try to add more value or take the assignment the extra step in any way possible.
4. Go the extra mile without being asked.
If you have down time, don’t waste it. Learn what tasks add value to the person you are working for and spend the free time trying to make a work product that will help them in some way. This is hard to do in the first couple weeks, but you will be able to do so once you get into the rhythm of things. Don’t be surprised by how many people take notice of your efforts.
5. Ask good questions.
There is a fine line between the right amount of questions and asking too many. Always exhaust any and all resources at your disposal before approaching the person above you. Their time is very valuable and they don’t want to be spending a lot of time helping you with something that you could have found the answer to in a 5 second Google search.
6. Carry around a notebook with you at all times. Write down everything.
Anytime that you hear a term or acronym that you do not understand, write it down and look it up later. Keep a list of questions that you have, so that you can Google the questions later. If you can’t find the answer on your own then make sure to take the list of questions so that you aren’t just bringing one question multiple times throughout the day. I have found that people are much more appreciative of an intern coming and asking several questions together then to come up every couple of minutes to ask one question.
7. Own your work.
When you are starting with a new firm, everything you do is developing a brand for yourself. You want to establish yourself as the person that does great work. One of the ways you do this is by making sure you read voraciously and do as much to learn about the business before starting. Another way is to make sure, is to always print your work and check it before you send it to a superior. For some reason it is much easier to catch your work on paper than on a screen. Have you ever wondered why two students doing the same internship with the same interests come out with a different view of the experience? If you establish yourself as the person that produces error free work on time or early then you will get put on the most interesting work that comes in the door. If you make too many mistakes in the beginning, you will most likely get put on the mundane tasks that aren’t nearly as exciting.
8. Don’t assume the internship will teach you anything.
Try to teach yourself the work and skill set prior to joining. It will give you a leg up on other interns; while at the same time giving you the opportunity to take on more challenging projects.
9. If you are given flexibility to make your own projects, do so carefully.
Try to find something that you are knowledgeable of and that the company is lacking. Look to see if the company is expanding into a new market or customer segmentation. If they are, become the expert in that area. This means reading everything on the subject and any other material available to you. If the company doesn’t have any testimonials or isn’t experienced with video, this is your area to add value. A lot of students are able to bring value in the way of social media. This is great, but make sure you are utilizing social media with the purpose of increasing exposure and sales. This will dramatically increase your chances of securing a full time offer when you finish the internship.
10. Be Thankful.