Rock the Internship Part 3: Learn to be a Dream Intern|
You got your dream internship! Now, it’s time to learn how to be a dream intern. Here’s how.
1. Nail your first day on the job.
Call your friends who have interned in similar fields, or even better, set up a few informational interviews in order to find out what you should expect on your first day. Of course, the basic things you should not do include showing up late, not asking questions, not being proactive on how you can help out, standing around looking clueless, etc. This article elaborates on what you should and should not be doing if you want to impress from the very beginning.
2. Dress like your boss.
It doesn’t matter if you are allowed to wear shorts; always dress like your boss. If she wears a skirt and a blouse, dress to the same level of formality. You want to stand out from the rest, without looking like you are one-upping everyone else.
3. Take your training seriously.
You never know when you will need the information being presented to you. Save all the information, write down notes, etc., so you know where to look when the need arises. I found that keeping a OneNote file of all the details, links, and how-to’s is very handy. In fact, when my department got new hires, my supervisor asked if he could send my notes to them in order to help them get up to speed quickly.
4. Show that you are willing to learn.
Take every training opportunity that is offered to you, even if it will not directly help you in your current position. Not only will you learn from industry experts, it will show that you are passionate about learning and that you are flexible as well.
5. Go to every meeting prepared.
Read email exchanges about the topic that will be discussed. Even if you aren’t asked for an opinion every time, just be ready. If your boss asks you for your opinion, or even a solution, you want to be able to give an answer.
6. Always ask for more work and never look bored.
If you finish you current task, ask for another. (Do not even think about opening any social networking site at work.) Sometimes, I had to bug my boss to give me more work. At times, I feared I was being a bit pushy, but in the end, I was even given an award for my persistence in communicating and getting things done! Just keep in mind that bosses are busy; making sure you have enough work is the last thing on their to-do list. The bottom-line is to always give 200%. Remember that you were hired to make your boss’s life easier.
7. If you don’t know what to do, try to figure it out on your own before asking for help.
If you anticipate that you will be working soon on something new, try to spend a weekend learning it at home.
8. Befriend other interns, especially the ones who have been working there for a while.
You will not believe how helpful they can be. They’ve been where you are…clueless (especially when dealing with a whole new code base), and they will always have something that will ease your transition, from their notes of things-to- know, to moral support. One of the interns I formed a close friendship with shared her notes on getting set up, literally saving my life the first couple of weeks.
9. Be memorable (in a good way).
Sure, all the other interns are rockstar interns too; that’s why you all got hired! So, be sure you have something that will make you unforgettable. For me, I called everyone “Sir” and “Ma’am,” “Mr.” and “Ms.” Now, this is just part of my culture and upbringing, but it sure made me stand out as the intern who is polite, well-mannered, and can get along with everyone. It also helped break the ice when I was new.
10. Ask for feedback regularly.
You want to know what areas you can improve on before the internship ends. A few weeks into mine, my supervisor told me that I had a tendency to approach things like a school assignment (starting from scratch versus collaborating with other programmers). Armed with this information, I was able to correct my ways and impress my supervisor before the internship ended, forming friendships — and establishing a solid footing in the industry – along the way.
Frances Advincula is a Computer Science major with specialization in Software Engineering. She has interned as a Platform Development Intern for Accenture Software. Being in an industry that is predominantly male, she is passionate about empowering women in every aspect of their lives.