What makes a successful intern
12 tips on how to master an internship
Internships are a great way to test the waters of the world of work, earn credits for college, or even kick off your career. Even if you are only employed for a few months: You have time to stand out and become THE intern of all interns.
1. LUNCH, LUNCH AND LUNCH AGAIN
Lunchtime is perfect for learning about your coworkers and meeting new people - also known as networking over sandwiches and salads. Maybe a department needs help with a project, someone is looking for a member of the soccer team after work, or a colleague is just as passionate about Game Of Thrones as you are. There is a lot to learn over lunch. That's why this is our number 1 internship tip.
2. BE NICE
Be nice and polite to everyone, master small talk, and stay away from the rumor mill. You never know beforehand who in the company can help you with a project or even a job. And the more people like you, the easier it is for you to ask for support and ask for contact details or recommendations - priceless tools in any job.
3. DON'T BE A CHAOT
As an intern, you are neither a servant nor a cleaner (unless you have been hired to do just that). However, without being asked, do your part to make the office a pleasant place: fill the printer with paper, wash your dishes and keep your desk tidy and clean. In short, act like your mother is watching you do it. (This is probably a tip that does not only apply to an internship).
4. GET LOTS OF FEEDBACK
You don't have to schedule weekly performance evaluation meetings, but neither do you wait until the very last day. Feedback will help you learn, improve, and get the most out of your internship. Even if it is not always positive to deal sensibly with possible criticism, it is an incredibly valuable skill and is therefore one of the most important tips for an internship.
5. ASK OUTLINE
Be curious and ask questions to find out the chances of joining the company and the no-gos of the business field - you only have a few months to absorb as much information as possible. However, make sure not to overdo your question and answer game too much so that the others can still get their work done. Most people will also be more than happy to take the time to chat with you about business. A great way to have your questions answered one-to-one over a cup of coffee.
6. DON'T DELAY THE UNPLEASANT
As an intern, you sometimes have to do things that you don't enjoy too much. However, if you do these to the fullest satisfaction, better tasks will surely await you. See it as a learning process and don't complain - especially not to colleagues or superiors. Often you have to prove yourself first and pass small tests before you are entrusted with bigger and better jobs.
7. BE PROACTIVE
Think the company needs a Twitter account or found a way to save money by hiring a different paper supplier? In general, managers love employees who show initiative and have good ideas on how to save or make money. So the internship can be the perfect time to show your talents. But don't flood people with poorly thought out or too weird ideas - focus on the best and blow them away with your knowledge (even a few numbers and a plan for implementation won't hurt).
8. Don't be too ambitious
Despite everything I've said so far, don't be too ambitious. Don't keep ringing for recognition and praise, don't just talk to people to make valuable contacts (they notice that and feel exploited!) And don't ask for a permanent position after the first week. You shouldn't criticize everything either, or try to change existing processes right away - unless that's what you've been hired to do.
9. BE ORGANIZED AND ON TIME
Don't be late for work or meetings. Arriving a few minutes early is an easy way to make a good impression. Always be prepared and do not miss any deadlines - if you already know in advance that you will not be able to deliver on time, ask for a postponement. Being organized and being able to keep track of time are important skills for a successful career.
10. DRESS PROFESSIONALLY
Find out what the dress code is before you start your internship - and then stick to it. If there aren't any guidelines, just see what other people are wearing and dress accordingly. Your outfit reflects your attitude and the more professional you look, the better.
11. USE QUIET TIMES
There are always times when there isn't much to do. Take the opportunity and ask for a task or suggest a project yourself, if you can think of something useful. Make sure that you always have your manager's approval when you spend the time doing non-work-related things - be open and honest, and don't try to hide the fact that you have nothing to do. Also, don't get caught chatting with friends on Snapchat.
12. AND DON'T FORGET TO MAKE CONTACTS
The last one is not just a tip for when you are in the office, but can also be an advantage in everyday life during your internship: Sometimes departments organize weekend activities such as volunteering, excursions or sports. Join in as this is a great way to make friends and get to know your co-workers. If you had to move because of the internship, your colleagues are the best source to find the right gym, the best café or the best party.
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