So you walked into the office, earlier than most others, but sat through the day fetching a coffee or two… and doing nothing else? If that’s how your internship is passing, you need to learn how to make the most of it, by following these 11 easy-peasy steps!
1. Wish people when they come to work, every morning and when you leave for home.
There is no better way than this of making your presence felt at the workplace. When you wish your seniors, they take note of you and respond, as well. This may sound like a very simple thing to do, but remember that manners go a long way.
2. Ask for work, instead of idly passing your day.
Don’t expect your seniors to just hand over responsibilities to you. As an intern, you will have to earn them. You can do this by offering to help them out with little chores, first. Once they start trusting you with odd jobs, meaningful tasks will follow. But make sure that you keep asking for them.
3. Be proactive and offer help!
Don’t restrict yourself to your own department when offering help. When you volunteer to help someone outside of your own team, you learn about how things work in the other departments as well and this gives you a broader perspective about the industry you are working in.
4. Don’t be afraid of asking questions! (Yes, even the silly ones!)
Everyone knows you are young and new, and would have a lot of questions. It is better to ask many questions instead of assuming stuff and making mistakes. That just wastes everybody’s time and effort. But also be careful not to disturb people with your questions when they are doing something important.
You are interning at this place, because you want to build your professional network, right? Well then instead of sending everyone a friend request on FB, add them on Linkedin. It will add weight to your profile and benefit you in the long run.
6. Whatever you do, however trivial, do it well.
The first thing anyone will notice when you’ve been given some work is whether you made loads of mistakes that they needed to fix. If you’re making mistakes people might soon think, “It’s faster if I just do it myself”. So every time you write an email or run some numbers, you’re really auditioning to get more work. And every spelling or grammatical error or miscalculation is something that will lead people to shy away from asking for your help.
7. Ask for a chance to sit in on meetings and observe what happens in them.
Your job is to listen and learn. You are too young to contribute. So, sit in these meetings and observe how people act, what they discuss and how they come up with solutions. You can later ask your mentor if you have any doubts, or do your own research about what was discussed.
8. Connect with your fellow interns...
For your internship may not feel as fun, otherwise. Plus, knowing interns from different departments will help you learn about how different departments function and who’s who of where.
9. If you’re free, do not resort to checking FB on your office laptop!
You can always check FB on your phone, but it doesn’t give off a good impression if someone finds you sitting idly on FB on an office screen.
10. Dress well and be resourceful.
Whoever said, “the way you are dressed is the way you are addressed” was damn right. If you mean business, dress like it and be a resource to your team, and step up anytime, anyone needs help.
11. Ask for letters of recommendation when you leave.
These are your stepping stones into the professional world, and will count when you are looking for a job. So don’t just get your stipend and leave, instead request your mentors to write you letters of recommendation, and in turn make sure you leave them meaningful thank you notes. It is a great habit to end things on a good note.