This is a guest blog post written by Washington Intern Student Housing.
The road from college to the real working world can be bumpy. There’s a lot to learn when you start a new internship, which is why you took the job to begin with. No doubt, one of the most important things is how to keep your boss happy. Your boss is probably too busy to give you a crash course on how they work and what makes them happy. So what’s an intern to do? We’ve gone inside your boss’s head to find out what they wish you knew before starting your internship…
1. Your Attitude Matters. Think doing great work is all that matters to your boss? You’d be wrong! Your attitude and how you interact with your coworkers matters more than you think. You’re all part of one big team that works together for the health of the company. Even if you have amazing ideas and do the best work, having a bad attitude or being hard to work with will turn them off to supporting your ideas. On top of this, your boss will probably think you are a pain, and will be slow to recommend you for future positions.
2. You will make mistakes… and that’s ok! Nobody is perfect and at some stage of their career, you can be sure your boss made mistakes too. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes, use the experience to grow and don’t make the same mistakes again. Taking responsibility, not blame, and seeing what you could have done differently and discussing it with your team shows you are willing to learn.
3. You can disagree as long as you do it in the right way! Any sane business person wants different opinions and thoughts on a project. If you think you can add something valuable, don’t be afraid to share your opinion. Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong! If you are going to speak up, make sure you offer your two cents calmly and unemotionally. Have any data or reference material handy? Show that you know your boss will ultimately make the final call but explain how your idea could enhance their idea further.
4. Your boss gives feedback to help you. Believe it or not, when your boss gives you feedback they are not trying to be mean. They are trying to help you (well, at least most of them are). Listen to what they are saying, and repeat back to them what you heard, in your own words. They will get that you are listening, and that is very important to them. Imagine you are not performing well and your boss doesn’t bother to tell you. You won’t learn or take as much from the role as possible. If you get negative feedback at your internship, remember your boss isn’t doing it to make you feel bad or to put you down. They are giving it because they want you to do a great job, which will be good for you and the company.
5. Your boss wants you to ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help, especially at an intern level. You’re not expected to know everything and the best way to learn (fast!) is to ask for help. Sometimes asking for help is perceived as a sign of weakness, but when it comes to your internship, it could earn you major brownie points. You will demonstrate your willingness to learn and let your boss know you’re a team player. It shows confidence to ask for what you need. It could also be a way to make some good connections that could be helpful in the future.
Take these 5 tips with you to your internship, and you’ll already know a few things your boss won’t need to teach you.