So, now you’ve read my last blog post and gotten yourself an internship. Congratulations, you’re on the right track. But I have to tell you, getting the internship is only half the battle. The most important thing you can do at an internship is go above and beyond! Some people will tell you that the key is networking- and that is crucial. But if you don’t do a great job, it doesn’t matter how well you network; no one will have anything good to say about you. Here are some tips for going above and beyond as an intern:
Do What is Asked of You (and Don’t Complain!)
One of the best compliments I have ever received is about my willingness to do “intern work”. Working in the “real world” isn’t always glamorous, and that’s ok. The biggest lesson here is to be a team player. Your bosses will be much more willing to work with someone who is a team player (and much more willing to recommend a team player). And, all companies value team players regardless of the industry.
Be patient- being a team player is not a short-term strategy. The more you do what is asked of you with a smile on your face, the more likely your bosses are to trust you with bigger and cooler projects that are more important to the company. Trust me, having patience works.
Be excited about the work you are doing. Maybe its not the most exciting stuff, and your bosses know that. Often, they will try and get you involved with more exciting projects. But they can’t trust you with more exciting stuff until you blow them out of the water with the smaller tasks you are asked to complete. The faster your supervisors trust you, the faster your internship will rock.
Ask for help. This is easier said then done. However, if you do it, you will reap great rewards and learn a great deal- which is the whole point of an internship.
If you don’t know how to use a specific program or perform a specific task, ask someone who knows how to do it to teach you. Even if it makes you feel inadequate, it’s better to ask instead of doing a whole project incorrectly and having to start over. All you are doing is wasting your bosses time, as well as your own. Most of the time, if you do not know how to do something, the other interns probably don’t know how to do it either. Asking makes it look like you care and you want to learn. Supervisors at your internships want to teach you- they want to impart knowledge on you and see you grow. Another reason to ask questions: it usually gives you the opportunity to bond with co-workers while they help you out, which will help you strengthen your professional network.
You will only get out of your internship what you put into it. If there are intern events, staff meetings or anything else open to you, attend! The more you are around, the more it shows that you care. Plus, you get the opportunity to learn from a wider audience of people. I volunteer for everything at my internships, whether it’s catering a meeting or volunteering to present a new project. If you care about your work and getting involved, your coworkers will take notice and care about you!
Not everyone makes the extra effort, so getting involved will help you stand out amongst a pack of interns- and could help you get you a job in the future.
Say Thank You
When your internship is over, say thank you. Write thank you cards to your supervisors and/or send out a thank you e-mail to the entire office if you’ve worked closely with a number of them. Include your contact information as well so everyone knows how to keep in touch with you (and you with them) after the internship ends.
Make sure your bosses and co- workers know that you appreciate the opportunity that was given to you. Also be sure to remind them that they taught you something. It makes them happy to hear that you’ve gotten a lot out of your internship.
Shannon is a senior at Boston University majoring in Advertising in the College of Communication. She has experience working for NBC Universal in New York City as well as PJA Advertising and Marketing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She loves clean functional digital design. Digital is the future of advertising and marketing and Shannon likes to say involved and on trend. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.