As a campus recruiter, I’ve watched this movie many, many times. Young, eager recruits with lots of potential join us. Then they get lost, struggle, and even fall out of the program.
If you are an intern, get going on the right foot. Take these tips to heart (or die trying).
Take It Seriously
Spending most of your time in the game room is a big no-no.
If you want to be taken seriously, you should take your work as such. It’s very important that your co-workers are able to attest that what you’re working hard, so don’t take this lightly.
You are young, but you are not going to be an intern forever, are you?
Others are expecting something from you. They may need you to carry out certain tasks.
You may not have a rigid schedule. Be polite and always arrive on time. It’ll gain you extra points.
Remember that your team is incomplete if you are not present.
Ask, Ask, and Ask Again
Everyone “knows” that you know absolutely nothing. So, ask away.
Question everything you need to know, even if you think that it’s very obvious. You may be surprised at the amount of things you can learn from your mentor, others with more experience, and even your intern peers.
Flood them with questions and fill up on knowledge.
Listen to Your Mentor
You might think that what your mentor tells you is meaningless. Don’t take this lightly.
Any advice you receive is useful, even in small pieces. Surround yourself by the most experienced people and listen to their advice. All of them started out right where you are now and have a lot to share.
Trust your mentor.
Confident, But Not Smug
Seriously, don’t go around thinking that you know everything.
You’re fresh out of college and your skills are rather… ehem… limited. Thinking that you know everything will keep you from learning anything.
Stay off your high horse and everything will flow much easier.
You are surrounded by people who are light years ahead of you in terms of experience.
Don’t try to bluff. Being humble will allow you to better take the feedback and advice that your co-workers give you. Never underestimate this.
Don’t pretend to know what you don’t know.
Work Hard—Very, Very Hard
This does not mean working longer than everybody else. It means doing your job well.
Go the extra mile. Become an expert in a specific field and get some recognition. Make your absence be noticed by you co-workers.
Become a linchpin for your team.
You don’t need to become a party animal, but socialize with your team.
You will need help from others. Make it a point to get to know your co-workers. Something as simple as “good morning” can get you far and wide. Getting to know people at a personal level will create deeper relationships and it will add more value to you and others.
You’re working with many people—you’re not alone.
Set Challenges for Yourself
Set as many challenges for yourself as possible.
Squeeze all the experience you can out of your internship. Step out of your comfort zone. Take on challenges with a smile.
Is there anything that you find extremely difficult? Do it!
This process is a long one.
You are going to fail many times. You are going to feel that you are not being taken into account. Don’t let that bother you or make you feel depressed.
Standing out requires a lot of outstanding work. In the end, you ll always gain something.
Nothing is going to happen magically.
You have to do the leg work to make things happen.