This morning I was watching my local news channel when they called their intern onto the set to say thanks for all of her work (it was her last day). She walked on the set, handed both anchors their coffee, and then preceded to just stand in the back while the two anchors said “This is ____ our intern. Thanks for all of your work on getting coffee and stuff, we will miss you.”
It made me SO mad and feel so bad for this girl who probably was expecting an amazing internship at a great network studio but instead got the typical, “can you print this quick?”, “hey if you can add this to my calendar that would be great”, “we will need 8 cups of coffee today, not 6” every day.
Now I am not in any way saying you do not, or cannot, learn a tremendous amount from those experiences but I am here to help you make more of a situation just like that. The key is to make people forget you’re an intern.
Tip #1: Ask what your manager’s expectations are on Day 1.
This may be a little difficult, but on your first day as your manager is hopefully setting you up at your work station, ask him or her what their expectations are of you: at the end of the summer, what would they like to say you did? Feel free to be prepared to say some things you wish to accomplish; whether it be personal like become a better communicator or task-related like drive a major project.
Tip #2: Do the small people things too.
At my current job, whenever someone does something very successful we joke and say “don’t forget the little people one day!” But we are serious! Everyone has to do what I like to call the small people tasks like grab someone coffee, take meeting notes, print stickers, whatever it may be at some point in their career. I do them all the time! But, hey, everyone has been there and doing them helps you to network if you are good at it. The worst thing you can do is think of those small tasks as unworthy because they are more valuable than you may know.
Tip #3: If you aren’t challenged, speak up.
Another bad thing you can do is not speak up – I know your friends will be flooding the beach and you’ll want to go too but speak up if you find yourself bored or not challenged. A day at the beach can wait, and speaking up and saying “hey I love what I’m doing but can I do something that will challenge me so I can learn from it?” Will speak miles about the type of worker you are.
Tip #4: You want people to forget you’re an intern..
I’m sure you’re still confused on why it’s important for people to forget you’re an intern. Unfortunately interns have a negative connotation if you ask me. However, if you are the first one in and the last one out every day, rock at the projects assigned to you, volunteer for extra curriculars, etc., then people will start forgetting you’re an intern and treat you like one of their own. Companies should be treating you like one of their own even if you are an intern but unfortunately some companies do not see the value in a millennial like yourself – so prove it and rock your internship this summer!!
Have you held an internship? I’d love to hear more tips from you guys by commenting below!