Become A Super Intern: 4 Tips To Stand Out

By Sarah Christine Davis on January 14, 2016
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As the new semester begins, many students are starting new internships.

For some, that just means a new notch in the well-worn belt of real-world preparedness.

However, many students are starting an internship for the first time and they probably feel more than a little lost.

Does that sound like you? Fear not, baby intern! Read on for some clues on how to be a strong intern and how to make yourself stand out from the others.

Practice punctuality.  

Image via Pixabay

This seems like a no-brainer, but I’m including it first because it’s an easy thing for interns to let slide.

However, in the mind of the boss, there are few things more unprofessional than showing up to your internship late, turning in an assignment past the deadline (without an explanation), or walking into a meeting after it’s already started.

Being on time — a lesson that we’ve been taught since we were children, so you’d think all adults would understand it by this point — shows not only that you respect the company that you’re working for, but also that you respect your boss and your peers.

In addition to that, Ruth Zive from The Muse says that punctuality also shows that you care, shows that you’re responsible, and helps reduce the stress that comes with rushing and scrambling.

Be a busy bee.

Image via Pixabay

Without making your plate spill over because it’s so full of tasks, keep yourself busy.

When you cross everything off of your to-do list but still have an hour left to spare, find something else to do. Ask your boss if they need anything taken off of their plate (they probably do).

Improve upon something that you’ve already completed (there’s always room for improvement). Ask a peer if they need help with anything on their task list (yay for making new friends!).

In addition, if you need to find something to do, it’s better to let your boss know when you are available rather than waiting until they walk by and realize you’re sitting idly by.

Long story short, there is always something that you can do. It’s fine — and wise — to take short breaks every now and then, but while you’re at your internship, you should mostly be interning.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Image via Pixabay

By asking questions, you’re proving that you are genuinely invested and interested in your work. This makes you stand out as a strong and devoted intern.

Additionally, engaging in conversation with employees who are above you, or even interns who have worked there for a while, is also a great way to network and socialize.

Asking questions early on can also be hugely beneficial to you when you’re doing your work. When a possible issue comes up that you’ve previously considered and asked about, you already know how to deal with it.

That way, you’re less stressed and can focus on getting your work done and being the strongest intern that you can be!

Meghan Casserly from Forbes suggests a couple of questions that every employee should ask on the first day on the job. A few include, “What should I know about office politics?” and “Is there anything weird about procedure and process?”

This also means asking for feedback. Knowing how the boss thinks you’re doing and discovering what you need to improve upon not only shows that you care, but it also allows you to strengthen your inner intern.

Treat your internship like a real job.

Image via Pixabay

You may be thinking, “Well, this is just an internship, not a job. I don’t need to act like it is.” If that is what you’re thinking, you’re wrong.

Pulling everything together, you need to treat your internship with respect. It can be difficult to treat your internship like a job when it’s unpaid, but it’s a waste of time if you’re not taking it seriously.

Treating your internship like a real job means working as hard as you can. When you’re working as hard as you can, you’re on your way to becoming a strong intern.

And who knows? Internships often lead to long-standing careers at the company. You could very well get a “real” job out of your internship!

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I'm Sarah! I graduated from Florida State University last year (Go Noles! Except for Jameis.). I now live in Raleigh, NC and I’m an editor at a tech startup. I enjoy puns and corny jokes — your dad probably thinks I'm hilarious.

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