1. Punctuality –
Make no mistake, this is the most important rule to adhere to when interning! Ensuring you are, not only on time to work every day, but that you are at every meeting and appointment on time says a lot about your organization and management skills. It shows that you are a serious professional who is no longer caught up in College antics.
It also demonstrates that you have respect for other people’s time. You are now dealing with very important people and there is nothing more your boss will loathe than having to wait an extra 5 minutes to start a meeting because you mistimed how long your coffee break would take.
2. Complete set tasks –
Whatever is asked of you, make sure you complete it. And by complete, I mean complete it to the point that it is a polished masterpiece. At the beginning of your internship you may require more time on tasks and this might mean putting in a few extra hours – but trust me, it will be worth the recommendation or paid position at the end.
3. Show initiative –
This is an important point and as recent graduates we hear this statement a lot, so here is an example of what I mean by showing initiative:
You know your boss has an important meeting in the morning with another department, it is now 2pm and you can see she is still dealing with today’s issues and won’t be able to start on the briefing papers for hours.
Showing initiative would be to approach her right now to ask if there is anything you can help with. Do not wait to be told what to do.
You may only be able to help with simple tasks such as pulling client files, or photocopying important documents to be handed out in the meeting. But it is often these small tasks that take the longest time and as an intern this is your job. So asking for these tasks ahead of time shows initiative – and you will be remembered for it.
4. Be resourceful –
This point goes hand in hand with showing initiative. Rather than asking your boss the answer to every small question you have, ensure you have exhausted all of your other avenues beforehand. Try asking co-workers, looking for the answer in instruction manuals, even try to Google it!
The more you approach your boss about problems, the more they will feel like you need to be babysat or require extra time and training. Obviously, when it is an important issue you will need to speak to them directly – so remember to pick your battles.
5. Network –
Networking is important for any professional regardless of their industry or position. As an intern you always need a Plan B just in case this position doesn’t work out.
Maybe your current department doesn’t have enough room to take on a graduate at this stage. But remember how you showed initiative earlier and helped your boss with their meeting with the other department? Well guess what, the manager of that department noticed your assistance and has a junior role opening up in their department. Look who’s laughing now!
You never know when your next opportunity is going to present itself. So always be prepared and always be respectful and you will be surprised where your dream job comes from.