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Share a meal with an employee other than your direct supervisor or other intern. Even better break bread with someone you work with whom you do not interact with much at all. Ask the person about their job, why they like their job, and how they got to where they are now. Be a sponge!
Visit a tourist attraction. This especially applies to students who are interning in a different state or region of their state. Get out and adventure one weekend!
Pitch a new idea. Do you have an idea for a project you can work on that wasn’t part of your original project list or solution to a problem you’ve encountered? Develop a professional strategy to share this idea or project with your manager. Initiative is a sought after employability skill in many new hires
Ask questions. Not just questions about job duties but find out what professional development activities your manager has valued most during their career, what do they do in their free time, what blogs do they read, professional newsletters they receive, organizations they are a member of, what professional books they’ve read. Your mentor didn’t get where they are overnight and hopefully you’re working with someone in a role you’d like to be in one day. Find out as much as you can about the path they’ve taken to help guide you in the future.
Stay in touch – be sure you have contact information for all the people you’ve connected with throughout the internship. Send thank you notes to people who’ve taught you something new, been a positive influence, or helped you during the internship. Communicate via email a few months after you’re back at school and find yourself applying something you learned in your internship to your education or vice versa. This is part of the process of building your professional network.
A few facts about internships:
- Be efficient & responsible. Make sure you arrive on time and prioritise work over social activities.
- Whatever your tasks are, do them to the best of your ability, and do them efficiently. Make it spotless, and do it in half the time you’re allotted. If your boss gives you a list of tasks to do for the day, finish them early and ask for more work
- Sometimes you might finish your work early when your boss isn’t around. Don’t use this as an excuse to take some downtime. Instead, let your coworkers know that you’re looking for some work and would love to help out however you can. This will show that you’re motivated and honest, and it’s a great way to network in the workplace.
Remember, no job is perfect.
- As the intern, it’s likely that your coworkers will continually delegate less-desirable jobs to you simply because they can. No one likes to be the errand-runner, but if you can push through the grunt work with a smile on your face, your coworkers will know you for your capabilities and your positive attitude.
Even if you’re internship isn’t what you were expecting, remember that it’s up to you make the most of it. Build relationships with your coworkers, maintain a positive attitude, and never forget what you’re work is worth (even if your coworkers sometimes do).