How to be a successful intern

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Internships are like a trial period for an employee that a company runs to understand what that person does and to assess what more he or she can offer to the company. For freshers who are just out of college, or for women who are returning from a break in their career or people who are undergoing a shift in their career, normally have to go through this. This probation period is the period where the company judges whether you are cut out for that role and that company or not. On the other hand, for the intern, it’s the best way to figure out whether he/she really wants that role. 

 

But, trust me. Internships are not easy and are tedious since you have a lot to do and a lot of people to prove to. Here are some of my tips to ace your internship:

 

  • Blend well with your coworkers:

 

The most important part of an internship or even a job is to develop relationships. Meet your coworkers and start mingling. You will eventually blend into the office culture and understand how the office works. You will also find yourself in a pickle every now and then and you may need to know which coworker to work with to get the help you require. Blending in is the most important part of your career. You will need to work with people of different genders, different personalities, different profiles, etc. while respecting them at the same time and people skills is the most important feature that workplaces require, right now.

 

  • Agendas:

 

Organize your day-to-day work requisites. Plan out each day accordingly to meet immediate requirements. The defining factor of an intern comes from the way he or she prioritizes what has to be done right now and what can be done later on. Also, the intern’s reliability is one thing that is defined over time, so you have to make sure you convey properly what you can do and what you cannot do.

 

  • Learn from your peers:

 

Watch and learn from your peers. Active learning is the make or break of an intern’s career. If you are really interested in the field you are interning for, you should know what are the actual requirements for the job. You should research and learn those fields and be implementative. In case you don’t know how or what to even study, then the best and fastest way to grow is learning from your peers. Ask them all kinds of stupid questions. Ask them what to learn and how to learn. Ask them if they could mentor you and help you at times you are feeling some sort of difficulty. Watch them how they do the job and learn the professional skills required. Don’t feel shy or don’t feel embarrassed when you mess up. After all, you are an intern and you are here to learn. If they expected you to be that perfect, you would be an employee and not an intern.

 

  • Professionalism:

 

Many, many interns are not professional, mainly because they are totally new into the field. And, that’s fine. But if you do not develop any professionalism by the end of your internship, regardless of how perfect you are in terms of your work quality or your knowledge base, they will not convert you to full time. Work ethics is something that needs to be picked up and worked on simultaneously. So please try to take it slow by being a little passive until you pick up on some professionalism and work culture.

 

  • Proactiveness:

 

You can’t be idle just because you finished your job. Key element for an intern and one of the judging factors to convert an intern to a full time employee is “How productive he/she is?” 

In the world of corporate culture, or any work culture as a matter of fact is, productivity comes hand-in-hand with how much work you did. But, the judging factor comes with how much work can you actually do based on your skill sets and talent. Once your done with the task at hand, reach out to your team members and understand where you can help them in case they need help. Constantly deliver your thoughts and ideas to your team members. This acts as you being proactive and also shows your leadership skills to lead and motivate the team.

 

  • Organize your day:

 

Organize your work. I cannot stress enough on this. Without the ability to prioritize your work and work accordingly, you can never reach the fullest potential that you have or showcase your true quality. Try different approaches on how to organize your tasks at hand. You can have a daily tasks list for that or if you have a team working with you and there is no organizational structure, go a step ahead and try to set up an agile system by making use of Kanban or scrum. Set sprints and reach the targets effectively.

 

  • Time management skills: 

 

Like mentioned before, prioritize what do you exactly want to do right now. Many times, you may get yourself involved in work that is not of immediate necessity while there is a pile of work that needs immediate attention. Work effectively and prioritize correctly.

 

  • Project management skills:

 

Sometimes, you will find yourself receiving a lot of work and most of the times it is more than what you can handle. As an intern, it is okay to feel overwhelmed and you can always question if they are pushing work that is beyond the scope of your responsibilities. But, if there are times where you have to handle many projects at once, you need to keep track of what’s happening in each project. So, my suggestion would be to jot down everything. Document everything that requires attention from your supervisors. This shows what work you are doing, how much have you accomplished and how much are still pending. Work accordingly to reach your targets.

 

  • Go out for a coffee with your peers:

 

Well, of course, this is just another bonding methodology. But the twist here is, they are outside the office. Get to know them on a personal level, their dreams and share everything you have to offer. This is a grand gesture that acts as the extra mile. It shows that you are a people’s person and you are interested beyond just the work limitations. This is a great bonding experience.

 

  • Showcase your work and skills:

 

Remember when I told you to jot down everything that you do? Those tasks that you have completed, those tasks that you have picked up and are working on, all of these have to be converted into Key Performance Indicators and Objectives and Key Results for the team. They should align with the company’s vision. This shows to what extent are you harmonically working with the team and how you are keen on learning more and reflects how much more that you can offer.

 

Now these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more factors that affect your role in the internship. It might be something as simple as work culture, or mentorship, etc. But, if you follow these, it will definitely show that you are serious about your work and all the things that you can offer you are real. The HR department will definitely love you!

 

Happy interning!

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