In a six month internship, you have time to settle into the normal routine, understand the business and then, once you feel comfortable, dazzle your boss with your brilliance. However, in internships that last a week or maybe two this can be somewhat challenging. You essentially have five days to demonstrate all of your best qualities without seeming like a overly peppy cheerleader. Here are ten tips to making the most of your week.
1) Do your research
I don't just mean the obvious company brand and identity, but be specific
. If you are a writer read the website and analyse the tone of the articles. If you are an aspiring events organiser research their clientèle. Every organisation has a unique brand identity
and if you understand this before you have started you will leave a lasting impression even after you have finished.
When I was in Primary School if I knew the answer I would beam from ear to ear. Whilst I believed this to be cute and endearing my teacher disagreed and (I think rather rudely) compared my grin to that of the Cheshire Cat. I think there is a valuable lesson to be learnt here, context is key
. Smile when you first meet someone in the office. Smile when someone asks you to help them. Remember a smile can light up a room, but you don’t want to blind your colleagues. Your smile should make you seem keen not desperate.
3) Body Language
It is highly likely that you will be called into a team meeting during your week and it is even more likely you will have absolutely no idea what is going on. And if they are anything like the team meetings in my office they will be insanely, stupidly dull. Side effects of this emotion are an inclination towards slouching, leaning and/or yawning
. This will not endear you to your colleagues. The key to staff meetings is to fake it till you make it.
So sit up straight, laugh on cue and look interested.
4) Do not put headphones in
Putting headphones is analogues to putting a big, neon, flashing sign on your forehead saying DO NOT DISTURB
. It will also prevent you from being involved in the random office conversations that are immensely important during a short term internship. People are more likely to hire, recommend or reference interns they like regardless of how good the work is. Take the headphones out and get involved.
5) Coffee breaks
Not all offices have these, but you should take every opportunity to socialise with your colleagues.
Whether it be in the form of a coffee break or a night out after work (however daunting or intimidating it may seem) you should go. Realistically, as an intern you are unlikely to have a monumental impact on the company. However, you can be remembered for being nice, sociable and friendly.
6) Be proactive
The truth is I have done internships where I have literally sat and stared at a computer screen from for eight hours. This is exceptionally demoralising and extremely dull. Say you are going to the coffee shop and offer to buy people a drink
. Go to the nearest supermarket on your lunch break and ask people what they need. I find that generally in life people like you more if you give them food.
7) Don’t be afraid
If there is someone in the company you feel could offer you advice or be a valuable contact do not wait for them to approach you
. Ask to eat lunch with them or to go for a drink after work. There will have been a time when, they too, were interns
and will know what it's like trying to get a foot on the ladder.
8) You're not in school
In not my finest hour at my first internship I asked permission to go buy a drink. Having never worked in an office before I didn't understand the culture. You are perfectly entitled to take lunch or go and buy a coffee to stave off the afternoon crash. Be confident
and whilst this does not extend to a two hour lunch break do not deny yourself your needs.
9) Just say yes
Whatever the request if someone asks you to help, carry or get involved be enthusiastic in your attempts to help.
The more eager you are the more you will be liked.
10) Say thank you
At the end of an internship I like to make brownies to express my gratitude. However, whilst baked goods are optional, you should send an email thanking the staff
for a meaningful and wonderful experience. Furthermore, if anyone has been particular helpful send them a personalised message.
Your mother was right when she said it pays to be nice.