The start of your internship can be quite overwhelming. However, here are ten guidelines you can follow to make the best out of it and to impress your supervisor!
1. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”
An old saying that is often accredited to the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius and is still relevant today. Pick an internship that interests you, since you are going to do it for at least a couple of weeks. Moreover, you should see your internship as an opportunity instead of an obligation.
2. Ask questions at the end of your interview
Never say that you don’t have any questions at the end of an interview, instead ask one or two, as it shows that you are proactive and someone who thinks ahead. You can always prepare some before the interview, but if the person interviewing you already answers them, don’t be afraid to make some up on the spot. Try it, it is not that hard!
3. Google yourself
Your employer is going to do it, so you might as well check out what information there is of you out there. Just make sure that your supervisor cannot access your holiday pictures where you wear nothing but shorts. Social networks offer the opportunity to control your privacy settings, they exist for a reason! At the same time, your employer will feel reassured when he finds information about you on the internet and on social networks. It proves you’re a real person; just make sure the information is strictly professional.
4. Don’t be too chatty
When starting your internship, it is a good idea to introduce yourself to the people you will be working with. Get to know who’s who and don’t forget to thank them at the end of your internship. Even so, don’t be that person who cannot stop talking. You know that annoying person who talks all the time? Yes, you don’t want to be like that.
5. Remember everyone’s name and interact
Remembering someone’s name builds credibility and relationship with the people you’re working with. You can impress your coworkers by greeting them on day 2 with a simple: ‘Hey John’, it will make them appreciate you and shows you have a good work attitude. So don’t be shy and go interact with others!
6. Never say no
Don’t ever tell your supervisor you don’t want to do something. No matter how brainless the work may be, always make sure you’re doing the best you can. Need to bring him some coffee? You better make sure it’s the best cup he ever had. Don’t forget that it is the trade-off for the skills and connections you are gaining. Still, if you feel your skills are not used to their potential, inform your supervisor in a constructive way.
7. Be proactive
You’re there to do some work, not to take a vacation. Be sure to leave your homework at home and focus on the job. Try to volunteer for work if you don’t have anything to do, your supervisor will certainly appreciate it. Set up Google alerts about the company and relevant concepts. This is your chance to get that edge which makes you unique.
8. “Don’t find a fault, find a remedy”
Henry Ford’s motto still applies today. Should you encounter any problems, try to solve them yourself. If you cannot solve it, at least make it look as if you tried and gave it your best. It shows you are proactive and that you can work independently. As Bill Gates once said: “If you can't make it good, at least make it look good”.
9. You learn from failures, not from success
It’s fine if you make a mistake - you’re an intern. If you do something the wrong way, learn from it and start again. Understand why you did it wrong and make sure you won’t do it again. Your supervisor doesn’t mind mistakes, as long as he sees that you’re learning from them.
10. Dress for the occasion
It’s a cliché, but it’s true. You are not making a good impression if you show up in your sweatpants and that T-shirt you have been wearing for 3 straight days. Try to find out what the dress code in the office is and don’t forget that it’s always better to go a bit more formal than is expected. If you really don’t know, go casual smart – you can’t go wrong.