Below are steps to take to be a well-rounded intern and move closer to receiving an offer at summers end.
Make an Introduction
During the first two days of your internship, introduce yourself to all the employees in the surrounding areas. You do not want to be four weeks into your internship and make awkward eye contact because you did not introduce yourself in week one. Your manager will introduce you to your Team and other employees but go the extra mile and meet as many employees as you can your first week.
When introducing yourself, express how excited you are to be there and to learn. Towards the end of the introduction (to people on your team), say something along the lines of, “By the way if there is anything I can assist you with this summer I’d be more than happy to take on some additional work. I’m trying to learn as much as I can this summer.” This shows you are committed to the organization and are looking to add value.
Take Notes and Ask Questions
Take notes and ask questions. This may be the most obvious aspect of being an intern but it is absolutely crucial. By not taking notes nor asking questions, you display that you are not interested in being engaged and do not want to learn. Take notes on phrases or topics you do not understand and jot down a list of questions to ask your manager at a future point.
A well rounded intern is one who adds value to his/her Team. The most common way to add value is by assuming routine, tedious/time consuming work. Some examples include daily/weekly reports, data entry and spread sheet updates. Employees love to have interns around for these tasks. Approach employees on your Team and offer to take over a task for the summer. It will show you are a team player, learn quickly and want to be a part of the organization.
One on Ones
An intern can be proactive by engaging with employees outside of his/her Team, more specifically peers of their boss and upper level executives. Although you’re being evaluated based on your performance during the summer, managers love to see if you are evaluating them as well to make sure the organization is a good fit for you. One way to do this is by setting up one on ones with managers from other cross functional teams. You can do this asking your manager to set up a conversation or two on your behalf. When approaching your boss about this, mention you are trying to get a better understanding of the organization and a different perspective on how it is run. If you are feeling ambitious, walk around the floor and jot down the names of people in offices. You can also look up these managers and email them requesting time to speak with them. Below is an email I sent to set up a meeting with a Director named Bill.
When you are having a conversation with any employee, keep in mind this is supposed to be a conversation, NOT AN INTERVIEW. Don’t be a robot; keep the conversation casual but professional.
Questions to ask:
- What is your background?
- What is your current role and responsibilities?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of your team ?
- What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
- What is one mistake you’ve made where you learned a great deal from? What was the mistake and what did you learn?
Getting involved in company sponsored events outside of the office is where you can really stand out. Volunteering for fundraisers and community service events shows you are invested in the local community. Large organizations LOVE this. Most companies have days of service and one marque summer fundraising event. If you can raise a substantial amount for the event you can make a lasting impression.
You are being evaluated every day. Keep in mind receiving an offer extends beyond the work you are assigned. Be persistent and courteous and an offer will surely be around the corner.
Good luck and happy interning!