SHOP THE LOOK:
Congratulations! You landed your dream internship and you’re ready to make a good first impression. It’s totally normal to be nervous or intimidated, but don’t let that stop you from being the best intern you can be! I applied for an internship with INSIDER after months of rejection from Disney Professional Programs and other career options in the south. However, the week before graduation I received an offer to work with the team that introduced the world to the magical rainbow bagel. How could I say no?! I packed up my bags and traded in my small town life for the Big Apple.
For a moment I began doubting my skills that I had learned from blogging and wondered how they would compare to college graduates with degrees in communications, media, or journalism. Thankfully, my blog prepared me for this internship more than I could’ve imagined. So, how could I continue to make an impact as an intern in a company of over 200 people? Here are a few tips to make sure you stand out and turn your internship into a full-time position:
1. Take ownership– At INSIDER, interns were expected to work 40 hours a week, so you’re basically a full-time employee. If you’re not responsible enough to handle all of your tasks, it has a huge impact on the team as a whole. Don’t wait for others to tell you what to do. OWN your ish- and do it well.
2. Speak up- There were multiple times where I was talking with other interns and they complained about work load or other tasks. 9 times out of 10, they were too afraid to share their problems with their manager. If you want to have a better internship experience, it might just be a simple conversation away.
3. Network (the smart way)– Right after my first week, I received an email for office hour opportunities with our CEO, Henry Blodget. After a minor anxiety attack, I requested a 10-minute time-slot to speak with him. I learned so much about the company and prepared questions beforehand so I wasn’t wasting his time, but that moment was invaluable. Afterward, I made a point to have coffee or meetings with other managers at INSIDER just to pick their brains. It’s not always about “what can you give me”, but what they can teach you! Your willingness to listen and learn will go a long way. It’s a lot classier than a conversation solely revolving around how you can stay at the company. Save that conversation for later down the line. However, there’s a clear line between genuine interest and kissing up to your boss. Make sure you’re not being that intern in the office.
4. Volunteer- Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! I volunteered for everything from organizing the office March Madness tournaments to crazy, viral videos. Yes, that’s me in that spicy lollipop video below! (I don’t think my tongue has fully recovered, lol! Here’s another video where I’m slightly more normal.) What’s important is that you’re showing initiative and you’re not afraid to take on more tasks while balancing your own.
5. Know your ish– If you put Excel, Photoshop, or other skills on your resume, make sure you know it backwards and forwards. Go the extra mile and keep up with industry publications in your field. This way, you can introduce new topics and news to your managers and see if they can be implemented at your office. They’ll be impressed with how much you care about the company and not just solely your job.
6. Be on time– Pot, meet kettle. This has always been a HUGE problem for me. Fashionably late only works with parties, not so much when you’re trying to be professional.
7. Write down your tasks- You can do this either every week or every month, but it will help you when the time comes to update your LinkedIn or resume. Also, you can refer to the list when pitching why you should stay on full-time to your manager.
8. Triple check grammar– Interns are constantly scrutinized for their work and even the little things can make a difference. Next time you’re sending that email or messaging everyone in Slack, pay attention that you’re using the right “they’re, their, or there.”
9. Don’t think internships are beneath you- You’re there for a reason. Whether it’s to gain college credit or to give you more experience, internships are necessary for today’s job marketplace. Be present and let your work speak for itself. You may wonder how menial tasks and less-than-impressive pay are helpful, but when you’re finished you’ll find the pros far outweigh the cons.
10. Become invaluable- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL. Find what your internship needs and become the expert in that area. At the end of the day, business is business. If your manager has to justify hiring you full-time in place of another intern, you need to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth.
My experience with INSIDER was truly unforgettable! From millennial pink Wednesdays to the time Krispy Kreme sent us 100 glazed doughnuts, there was never a dull day at the office. Go join the fun and look for openings here. And yes, I did receive a full-time job offer. ;) However, I decided to further my education and get an MBA! Maybe one day I’ll return to NYC…
Internships are a great way to show what you’re capable of. So use your time wisely! Can you think of other tips you’d tell a future intern? Let me know below!