When you are an intern, you have to prove yourself. Having a negative attitude is a quick way to burn a bridge with a company and with several professional contacts. And to clarify, when I say bad attitude, I’m talking about students who come across as passive aggressive, annoyed, entitled, rude, ungrateful, or lazy. I’m talking about the students who make it tough for people to work with them. During an internship, your goal is to create a lasting impression. Once you leave, you want people to say, “WOW, that student was a pleasure to work with.” To ensure you maintain a positive attitude, follow my tips here:
1. Volunteer for Everything. Show your team that you aren’t above any sort of work. Show them you are grateful to learn about all aspects of the job. You aren’t above making a random coffee run here or there. Now, remember, if you ever feel uncomfortable at your internship, that’s another story. Should that happen, contact a supervisor or your career center ASAP. Volunteering for the tasks no one else wants to do will help you stand out to your internship supervisor. They will remember you as always being on-hand to help.
2. Don’t be Too Casual. I wrote a blog recently called I’m Your Boss, Not Your Best Friend. One of the ways that students tend to get passive aggressive (just like everyone else) is via text. Try to avoid texting with co-workers. If your supervisor is texting you assignments, go out of your way to be very friendly over text and respond to everything. The tone of text messages are very hard to read so be hyper-sensitive about how those come across.
3. Remember Your Manners! Be respectful in the office. When you get called into the office, collect yourself, grab a pen and paper, and appear gracious. Thank your boss for any assignments he/she throws your way, as these should be great learning experiences. Try not to be short with your boss or supervisor.
4. Check-In Before You Leave. Ten to twenty minutes before you wrap your internship each day, speak with all of your supervisors (either in-person, by phone, text, or email) and communicate your workload. “I’ve finished the research project, I wrap up for the day in twenty minutes, is there anything else I can help you with?”
5. No Position Above Another. At many internships, you’ll have a direct supervisor and then an overall boss of your department. Make sure to remain respectful to your supervisor and don’t go around this person to your boss. You want to show your direct supervisor that you not only respect them but also respect the chain of command.
6. No Complaints! We all complain sometimes and sometimes we don’t realize we’re doing it out loud. Try to keep the complaints under control during your internship. Don’t complain about how busy you are, the assignments you are getting, the fact that you are bored, boys, girls – don’t complain about anything. Leave that for your family and friends outside of the office. I know you can all do this. You are all capable of being amazing interns.
If you want to read even more Intern Queen advice, read my internship book HERE.
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