Have you landed an internship? Excellent. You rock. Getting internships now can be just as hard as getting a job. You’re in a class with so many smart, determined young professionals. Now that you’ve found yourself with an internship, you should be very proud. Pat yourself on the back and prepare - because it’s going to be a rewarding, fulfilling, and mentally stimulating few months.
Your main goal now is to make an unforgettable impression during your internship. You’ll meet a lot of new people and professionals in your field, complete a range of tasks, and have some solid examples of work you can share with future employers. Here are a few tips and tricks to absolutely crush your internship.
Be the best intern possible
Be the person who gets tasks done. Be the person who is constantly saying “what can I do next” when you finish assignments and are ready for the next thing. Don’t twiddle your thumbs waiting around - ask for more. If you don’t have enough tasks or projects, let your manager know you’re ready for more. Be efficient and creative with all that you accomplish, and show you can think outside the box. The more you’re willing to take on, the more you will learn.
Be present and be yourself
Be present in meetings. Look people in the eye when talking to them. Smile and show you enjoy being there. You’re awesome - show some personality. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and make jokes. Make people feel great around you. Ask others questions to get to know them better. Get them talking about themselves, and they’ll enjoy talking to you.
Check the vibes in the office
Always follow the protocol for what to wear and how to act. Take a look around the office and try to blend with their style and presence. You don’t want to stand apart for inappropriate dress, for talking too loud/being too chatty, or for anything that might be considered culturally inappropriate.
Understand deadlines and communicate
When given tasks be sure to ask, “When would you like this finished by?” That way you can start learning how to prioritize the work given to you. If you’re working on something and are asked to finish something that competes with your current work, say “I’m working on X right now, what should I prioritize?” Being upfront about deadlines and prioritizing will help you be efficient and is key in the workplace.
Always bring a notebook and a pen to meetings. If you have a laptop and its part of company culture to bring a laptop, bring one. When you’re in the meeting, be sure to pay attention and take notes rather than check your emails, social media, etc. You never know what you will be asked about later or what you may need to recall at a later date.
Questions are good. They help clarify what you should focus on. Clarify how to complete a task so you do it the right way first. You might have a ton of questions, and that’s ok. An internship is a learning experience and your supervisor will expect you to have questions. Consider when and how to ask your questions. Also, think about the company culture - are others just going up to desks and asking questions, or sending it in an email so they can respond when they are available.
Make sure your manager is ready to answer your questions by asking them in a professional and appropriate manor. Respect your managers’ time: they are busy. But always ask to make sure you’re on the same page for what’s expected and when it’s expected.
Once you know what your responsibilities are, it would be wise for you to think about who you could meet for informational interviews. Reach out to people. Use the time during your internship to get to know your manager and others at the company better. Ask them to lunch or coffee. An internship is your time to get your foot in the door and learn about your approved career field.
Those first few days can be slightly overwhelming. You’ll get stressed. You will think everyone else knows what they’re doing and you’re the only one that doesn’t, but don’t get discouraged. You’re new and you’re there to learn. You might make mistakes, but that’s fine - own up to them. Eventually your internship will start to feel like a place that you’ve always belonged.
A few things not to do
Leaving a good impression on your host company can lead to a lot of great opportunities. LinkedIn endorsements, high-quality reference letters, and even job opportunities can all come from building a network and maintaining a good relationship with your coworkers. For all the things you need to do to leave a great impression, there are a few things you need to avoid doing during your international internship and any professional experience.
Even if other coworkers are talking about work around you, don’t get involved. Stay professional and zone it out. If there is gossip remove yourself from the conversation. Make sure whatever you do you don’t spread gossip, end the conversation at you and move on.
Don’t complain on social media
We’re not dumb: don’t you be. Your employer will look you up. If you’re constantly complaining about how bored you are, they’ll lose respect for you. Make sure you’re aware of what you can share out on social media. Some employers don’t want everything they’re working on all across the internet so make sure to ask your supervisor what you can and can’t talk about outside of your internship.
Don’t be late
In some culture’s its normal to be a few minutes late to work and even considered rude to show up early. However, you are the intern and should be at work on time every day. It doesn't matter what time your coworkers or supervisor shows up. In all likelihood, they have earned the right to show up a bit late. Unless your supervisor tells you otherwise, you need to be at work every day on time.
1. Do the things you say you will do when you say you’ll complete them.
2. Keep your manager updated with your progress.
3. Ask your manager for help prioritizing.
4. Don’t take on too much or else you’ll disappoint those counting on you.
5. If you have an idea for an improvement, share it at the right time.
6. Add value and always ask how you can help.
7. Look for ways you can do more or come at a problem from a new perspective.
8. Take opportunities to network.
9. Stay enthusiastic.
10. Be Present.
You're all set!
If you are the best intern you can be during your internship, your peers and managers will have really enjoyed you and your hard work, and you’ll stay in contact. Maybe you’ll even be considered for open positions in the future. At the very least, you’ll leave and move on and take your great experiences with you. To do that, you need to use your internship to really be a rockstar. And that means showing up, being present and getting the job done right so that all your hard work is worth it.
Come rock an internship through Global Experiences. We have international internships in fabulous cities all around the world and nearly every career field is available. Apply today and a member of our hard working team will get back to you shortly.
Guest blog by Laura Eshelman.
Laura Eshelman is a senior producer at Discovery networks who produces content for major brands. She created a podcast to help recent grads get hired fast, be smart about money, be happier, and healthier. She also writes about these topics on her blog which you can find by clicking here. Laura's mission is to help recent grads avoid the pitfalls of the black hole of applications and get noticed in the sea of sameness. Check out Laura's website and contact her to learn more.