You’ve made it through your first day and your first week. You’ve met everyone in the office, familiarized yourself with the location, and gotten a grip on the commute. So, now what? You’re still in the early stages of the internship, but your responsibilities and projects are beginning to kick into high gear, and you want to ensure that you succeed. Now that the work has really begun, check out these tips to keep up the positive impression you made during your first week.
1. Understand your deadlines.
This step is critical. As you begin getting assigned projects, you will be expected to turn them around by a specific date and you don’t want to be rushing to get something done at the last minute. Make sure to keep track of your time in order to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed or frustrated. If you find that you’re struggling with something, talk to your supervisor. The last thing you want is to be asked for your progress and have nothing done, so make a to-do list, prioritize what needs to be done first and check off items as you complete them. This process will be much easier than crossing tasks off in your head.
2. Expose yourself to as much as you can.
If you have the opportunity to do a variety of projects or assignments, you should take advantage of it. Internships often don’t last very long, so you want to use your time wisely. If there’s an aspect of the business that you’re really interested in, ask your supervisor if you can try out something new for a day or even for an hour. Although it can sometimes be intimidating to speak up, an internship is a learning experience for you and if you don’t ask, you’ll regret it later when your internship is over.
3. Ask questions when you’re confused.
As an intern, you’re almost always going to have questions, because you don’t have a lot of real-world experience yet and that’s okay. As long as you’re not asking the same questions repeatedly, there’s nothing wrong with doing so. In fact, your employer would probably be more surprised if you didn’t have any questions. If you’re working on a project and you need a little clarification, ask. While there are some things that you can figure out yourself, don’t sit there for hours because you’re afraid to ask for help. You’ll wind up wasting time, and most likely you’ll have to end up asking the question anyway or redoing something because you did it wrong the first time. Asking questions is a good practice — it’s the only way you’ll ever learn!
4. Put forth your greatest effort.
Although you may be challenged and you may find what you’re doing difficult sometimes because it’s all new to you, the most important thing you can do is to try your best. Whether you make a mistake or do something perfectly the first time around, your supervisor will be able to tell if you put a lot of work into it or if you just threw something together. Your work ethic will show, so be sure to always put your best foot forward and your dedication and determination will be respected.
You’re going to have a few pitfalls during your first month, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a good intern. The first month consists of almost entirely new experiences, and once your first month is underway, you’ll be better prepared for the second, then the third, and so on. Try to keep in mind that practice makes perfect.