Internships are great for people of all majors – they give you a chance to explore what working in your field is really like before you actually start living in the “real world”. You get a chance to see the things you’d actually be doing. If you like your internship so much you start feeling a pinch of sadness when it’s time to leave for the day, you know your major is right for you! Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the last few weeks that will help you once you start your first internship:
1) Never ever ever complain
I cannot stress how important this is! As an intern, you may get some tasks that seem less than glamorous, such as filing, general office maintenance, and filling out some paperwork. Yes, they’re not the most fun tasks but instead of complaining about it to your other coworkers (who will most likely tell your supervisor about this) or rolling your eyes, do it with a smile and most importantly, do it well. If they see that you go above and beyond for such basic tasks, not only will they be impressed by your work ethic, but you’ll be assigned to more important tasks. Your days of fetching coffee and filing the latest budget reports will be much more scarce.
2) Get to know people from every department
Whether the office you’re interning in consists of 10 people or 100, make it a point to get to know people from every department, not just the one you’re assigned to. You’d be amazed at some of the knowledge you can absorb from your coworkers. They remember when they were your age and exploring career paths so they may have lots of advice for you on things they wish they would’ve done. It’s important to be genuine and not force these relationships because people will notice. Do something nice for the office and bring in donuts one day or send a note to thank someone for their help on an assignment. It’s the little things that count. If coworkers see how well you fit into their company, not only will they give you stellar recommendations, but they could possibly even hire you one day. It will also make your internship experience a lot more enjoyable.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Many people don’t know this, but employers do like it when you ask questions! It makes it seem like you’re engaged in the assignment and you’re a very detail-oriented person. If there’s a concept you don’t understand, an assignment you’re not quite sure how to go about doing, or you just want to know more about the company, simply ask. What’s not ok is to ask questions that you’ve been given the answers to time and time again because it will make it seem as if you haven’t been paying attention. If you have a question, ask it. It will make your life a lot easier.
4) Make a list of all the things you want to learn how to do
I know it sounds a little out of the ordinary, but write down some things that you want to learn how to do during the course of your internship. If there are some computer programs that have to do with your major, such as Photoshop or any social networking sites, write them down. In your list, make sure you set measurable goals for yourself that you will be able to accomplish by the time your internship ends. Make two copies and give one to your supervisor and keep the other one. Go over the list with your supervisor and let them know about all the things you hope to accomplish during your time as an intern. Not only will they be impressed you took the initiative to do this, but they’ll make sure you’re able to accomplish everything on your list.
5) Research the company beforehand
Not only is this an important thing to do before starting an internship, it’s important to do this before the interview, as well. Your supervisors will be happy that you’re up to date on the company’s current events so that saves them time having to explain it to you. Become aware of the services they provide and any software they may use and try to familiarize yourself with it before starting. This shows you took initiative in exploring the company on your own and it will ease the transition into becoming an intern.
I hope this 5 tips helped on what to do and what not to do as an intern! Taking initiative is everything and everything listed above will also help you enjoy your internship experience as much as possible. It’s not all about cliche duties such as getting coffee, but about giving you an insight as to what you’ll be doing in the future and it’s important to make the most out of it.