Now that you’ve landed your internship, you don’t have much time to get the most out of it. You need to establish a great attitude, work ethic and curiosity—especially if you want to extend this opportunity into a full-time job.
Here are my best tips for crushing your internship. This advice comes from my years of listening to people wanting to break into their dream jobs, and watching the ones who succeed.
1. Absorb everything. Be a total and complete sponge. Soak up the best practices. Take notes. Ask follow up questions. Communicate that you want to learn.
2. Serve constantly. Often interns don’t have enough to do, or they get forgotten in the swift pace of work. See next tip….
3. Think proactively. Can you break out of the box of your specific role and add value in other places when appropriate? Is there something that needs to be done where you can demonstrate your work ethic? Look for the tasks that no one wants to do but need to get done.
4. Be great. Whatever you’re asked to do, excel at that task. My first sports job after college was answering phones in the office of the Super Bowl Host Committee. Not my dream job, but I pushed myself to stay upbeat all day long. To be considered an excellent employee, sustain your best performance as an intern.
5. Don’t assume. Interns typically are eager to connect with the high-level people they think are the decision makers. But the influencers can be more important. The receptionist who has been there for 30 years, the admin and others also build a perception of you that wind up influencing the big bosses. Treat everyone with respect and kindness.
6. Seek advice. Asking for advice in an authentic way shows that you understand that a resume is not enough. You need to build relationships, and a great way to do that is to ask for pointers from people who are doing what you see yourself doing.
7. Connect often. Don’t pass up lunch and learns, happy hours, volunteer projects, or any chance to solidify relationships. Ask for business cards and follow up with a short email of thanks. By pitching in and building favor, you will set yourself apart.
8. Speak up. Recently I was in a corporate meeting attended by a group of interns. What a great opportunity for them to be on the front line of business. Yet they didn’t get a chance to speak or ask to speak. Look for appropriate ways to express your desire to learn more. When given the stage, ask a great question.
9. Observe yourself. What are you loving about your internship? What not so much? This opportunity can teach you about your affinity for this work. Be brutally honest when assessing yourself, because knowing what you don’t want to do in your career can be just as important as your professional goals.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
These 9 tips will help develop authentic curiosity and openness that you can build on the rest of your career, even if your internship does not lead to a job offer. Make every day a steppingstone to your dream career!
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her new book, Fearless At Work, is now available. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.