4 Ways to Be the Best Intern You Can Be

By Madison White on August 1, 2019

Summer internships are often a crucial part of the college experience. For three months, college students across the nation will go to work at various companies, hoping to learn more about the industry and even score a full-time job. How exactly to excel at that internship may be somewhat of a mystery, and how to land a job, even more so. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help you be the best intern you can be.

1. Do good work

The most important aspect of succeeding in an internship or job is making sure that you are doing your best at it. It would be difficult for your supervisors to see your talent or interest in a position if you aren’t putting in the effort.  Of course, doing good work will look different in different places, but there are a few key things you should always be doing.

You should make sure that you are dressing the part. Take a glance around at what the other workers are wearing and model your wardrobe after that. You should never be under-dressed at your internship, even if you may be at the lowest level.

You should make sure that you are punctual when you arrive and do not leave early. Try your best to stay on task when you are working, but don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need to.

Meeting deadlines is often crucial to performing well at your internship. If you know that you may struggle with this, try putting some things in place that will help you stay on track. This could include setting reminders, setting smaller goals before the big deadline, and asking someone to help you stay on track.

2. Maintain a positive attitude

Your managers may be busy with their own tasks to notice every little thing that you do, but something that they will always notice is your attitude. It is extremely important that you try and stay positive and enthusiastic about the work at all times. This can be difficult when many interns are delegated to boring tasks. Even if you are groaning on the inside, you should always accept directions with a positive, can-do attitude. This shows your supervisors that you are a willing, dedicated worker regardless of what the task at hand is.

Something else to be wary of is when your coworkers complain together. This can be a usual occurrence during break times, especially when the company is going through a rough patch. Be careful though. Complaining too much about your work, even if they are doing the same, may make them think that you don’t like the job at all. You also never know what words of yours might end up in your manager’s ear, so it is best to play it safe.

3. Make connections with other coworkers

Though you may want to opt out of the venting sessions, you should make an effort to interact with and get to know your other coworkers. This is extremely important because it shows that you will fit in with the current office environment. For interns, making these connections can be somewhat difficult. Permanent employees are probably used to temporary help coming and going, so they may not make an effort to really get to know you. This means that you’ll likely have to take the first step, but it will be worth it! Getting to know your coworkers can make a huge difference in how you feel about coming to work now and in the future.

4. Talk about the future

Because managers sometimes don’t reach out to their interns, it can be hard for them to know what it is that you want out of a career. They will often make assumptions about you based on your age, gender, and what school you come from. Sometimes these assumptions may be right, but other times they could be way off.

If you are really serious about landing a job after your internship, you should talk to others about your future plans. Letting them know that you’re even interested in a full-time position is the first step. Tell them how much you’re enjoying your role and how you could see yourself growing here in the future. You could ask your manager about what a full-time position would look like and potentially try out, or shadow someone in that role. Make sure that you are always asking for feedback and developing yourself so that you would be a great candidate for that job.

If you follow these tips, you should be well on your way to success at your internship. When trying to land that full-time job, sometimes it really is as easy as showing that you really want to be there.

Madison graduated with her Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester (UK), and holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She currently teaches English at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer and blogger on her website Madison White Writes and elsewhere.

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