Maybe you’ve been with an employer as a summer intern and are looking to go out with a bang. Or perhaps you’re looking for a Fall internship? Either way, you’re probably wondering what you can do stand out as the best intern your employer has ever hired.
There are a variety of traits employers look for in uber-successful interns. Some of them include the eagerness to learn, enthusiasm, curiosity, strong work ethic, and productivity. In addition, there are also some things interns can do to become rockstars during their internship.
Here are seven tips that will help you become the best intern… ever:
1. Understand That Adjusting in a New Office is Tough
Especially if this is your first internship, it can be a bit of a transition into the professional world. Your first few days will involve a lot of adjustment and learning how things work in the organization.
You’ll find yourself asking lots of questions and might go into information overload, but remember, this is normal! Be sure to take notes, stay calm, and focus on remembering the names of people who will be essential to your success during your internship, too.
2. Go Out to Coffee with Everyone You Meet
During your internship, you’ll have the opportunity to make a number of connections that can help your career. As you continue to meet your coworkers and the different managers in your department, make the effort to get to know them outside the office.
Ask your coworkers to go out to coffee or have lunch with you. These meetings give you the opportunity to build relationships while learning more about the company. Not only is this a great learning opportunity for you, but also you’ll show your coworkers that you are curious and eager to learn.
3. Ask Questions
During your internship, you’ll come to realize that your employer will prefer you ask questions instead of making a costly mistake when trying to figure something out on your own. Your manager and coworkers are there to help you during your internship, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Successful interns realize there is no such thing as a stupid question, unless it was a question they could answer on their own (ever hear of “Google”?)
Important: When asking questions during your internship, remember to ask the right people. For example, if you need to write a press release for the sponsorship department, chances are an employee in sponsorship will be able to answer your question faster than your manager.
4. Always Take Notes
Note taking and asking questions almost always go hand-in-hand. It’s also important to take notes because it will help your manager. Note taking prevents you from forgetting silly things or having to ask repetitive questions in the future. By writing down information, you’ll be far more efficient as an intern (and a professional later in your career).
5. Don’t Feel Down if Some of Your Work is Too Easy
The nature of nearly every internship is to give college students and young professionals an overall experience of what it’s like to work in the professional world. With this said, there might be some days when your manager asks you to update a database or make copies for a meeting.
When you’re asked to do monotonous or boring tasks, try your best to maintain a positive attitude. Some of these duties are a part of the job (or any job, really), so it’s important you continue to do your best and refrain from complaining about your workload. However, if you notice you haven’t completed a project that contributes to your success, you might want to sit down with your manager and address your needs.
6. Keep Track of your Experiences, Achievements and Progress
Something many interns don’t think about doing during their internship is keeping track of everything they learn. achieve and accomplish. This gives you the chance to review your experiences and even use your blog posts or journal entries as a part of your portfolio.
A great way to record your experiences during your internship is through a blog or internship journal. As you blog, you can share the ups and downs of your internship, as well as the lessons you learn.
7. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity to Develop as a Professional
During your internship, you’ll learn a number of new skills and pieces of information. In addition to the hard skills you learn, you also need to take advantage every professional development opportunity available.
For example, if your employer hosts professional development days for employees, ask if you can observe one for an afternoon. Another thing you can do is ask your manager if they’re involved with any professional organizations. If they are, you should try to tag along to the meetings they go to.
Finally, it’s important to ask your manager and mentors about their careers and personal experiences. One of the most valuable things you gain from your internship is learning about what your manager did to get to the position they have today.
Being a successful intern doesn’t have to be a challenge. All you have to do is set goals for yourself and focus on what you want to gain from the internship. Remember, what you put into your internship is what you’ll get out of it. As long as you remember to work hard, stay focused, and be a sponge of information, you’ll be on your way to being a very successful intern.
For this post, YouTern thanks Heather Huhman!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.