This is a guest post.
You’re starting an internship and you want to make an impact. Whether you’re working at a small start-up or a mega corporation, most managers are looking for the same things: interns with complimentary personalities, strong work ethic, and potential for growth.
We hire a lot of interns at DoubleDutch, and here’s what makes our very best interns stand out.
1. Listen: This starts in the interview process. Nothing is more frustrating than having a 30 minute interview where after talking for the entire time, the candidate reads off a list of stock “what to ask in an interview” questions. Read the job recommendation fully. Ask thoughtful questions related to the role. If a requirement is CRM management, make sure you ask which CRM is used, and what other software the company has already implemented.
If the interviewer looks distracted and uninterested, think back on the question. Make sure you’re really answering the question they asked. Listening is important not only because it is the way to connect with someone, but it also shows a certain level of respect. In summary, respect other people’s time by really listening, and really answering the question.
2. Think Beyond Your Role: As a manager, there is nothing more refreshing than being pleasantly surprised by an employee. A good example is on my team at DoubleDutch. Victoria is our Event Marketing Manager. Her job is to find sponsorship opportunities at events where our customers will be in attendance. Not only does she do this, but she gets us a discount, a speaking opportunity, and extra advertising on the event website. It’s not something I asked her to do, but it shows that she is thinking “outside” of her role, and focusing on what is best for the company.
3. Be Proactive With Communication: In the workplace, we don’t like surprises. If you see something starting to head downhill, it’s always better to bring it up beforehand. I’ve learned this the hard way. Swallow your pride and ask questions before you make a big mistake that could negatively impact the company. Another example, Justin, our Marketing Communications Manager, saw that he was almost out of his monthly budget for Twitter Advertising -- and it was only March 20th. He scheduled a quick 15 minute meeting, ran through the stats from the month, and suggested that he get more budget to keep our foot on the gas, since we were seeing results. Had he come to me at the end of the month, over budget but with great results it would have been a bittersweet victory. (Justin got the extra budget, FYI.)
4. Be Resourceful: Another thing managers don’t have a lot of… is time. We want to train and coach, but quite honestly, it’s very refreshing to hire someone that can at least try to get the answers on their own! Sometimes a simple Google search goes a long way. Bring your smartphone or laptop so you can look things up at the drop of a hat.
5. Come prepared: When you do have questions to ask, it’s helpful to gather all your questions, and schedule time to talk with your manager. Respect their time and come prepared. So once you get your foot in the door at an internship, keep this advice in mind. Don’t just do an internship -- try to blow your internship out of the water.