How to be an Outstanding Intern

Life as an intern is not a bed of roses – you have to prove yourself although you may be inexperienced. Here are some tips on how you can shine in your internship!
Anne Grace Savitha
Writer, gradsingapore

You’ve applied to do your internship with your dream employer, and received a confirmation to join the company. Congratulations! Now, what can you do to be a star intern so that you may even be hired upon graduation with your internship company? Here’s how you can stand out as a promising intern.

1. Put in the hard work

As an intern, you need to be extra hardworking in completing your assignments. Prove to your superiors that you are capable of the task assigned. Sometimes, this may require you to work overtime unpaid, or even work at odd hours.

Value the opportunity to work hands on in your chosen environment. Although an intern’s pay is usually meagre, the experience gained helps you to learn more about yourself professionally, and puts you in a better stead for future work stints, including a potential conversion to a full-time hire.

2. Take on challenges

If you’re keen to get a full-time opportunity with your internship company, start by making sure there is such a possibility. Set out to accomplish all the tasks assigned to you and more.

Look out for areas where you can contribute and take initiative to propose new assignments with your boss. Ask for more challenging tasks if you are up for it.

3. Solve and minimise problems

There will be many unknowns initially but don’t feel embarrassed to ask your colleagues or your superiors anything related to the job. That said, you should be proactive enough to solve your problems on your own first before going to someone for help.

Clarify how to use a certain application, or any queries you may have regarding your duties. The key is to always ask your colleagues or your superiors if you’re unsure. Two heads are better than one! Don’t linger in doubt or you might end up with errors.

If you encounter a roadblock in your work, you can come up with a few options of solutions to present them to your boss who can help you decide on the course of action.

4. Learn from your mistakes

Mistakes are part and parcel of life – especially when you’re starting out in a new role or field. As an intern, there will be mistakes that you’re bound to make as compared to your colleagues who have been working for years.

Learn to face your mistakes and don’t be fearful of them. Accepting your errors and learning from them are crucial skills in the workplace. If you’re unable to deal with errors and failure, your work performance is bound to be affected. Be brave to admit your mistakes and moving on positively.

5. Bond well with your team

No man is an island especially in the workplace. As an intern, you’re embedded in a network of professional contacts while being the most junior. You can learn something from everyone you  meet. Develop good relationships with your colleagues so that you can work on projects together with efficiency and enjoyment. The ability to mingle and interact with the people of different dynamics across a team is key for your professional growth.

6. Seek feedback for your growth

As an intern, you want to know that you are making progress and on the right track. Asking for feedback is the easiest way to find out if you’re doing well in your role, and how else you can improve yourself professionally.

Consult your supervisor and colleagues and listen to their guidance and advice. A weekly feedback session helps you monitor your progress and development as an intern, and comes in handy when you have to write a report to summarise your experience.

It should be obvious by now that a star intern is one who takes charge of his or her own learning, has initiative in getting things done and problems solved – and is a valued contributor on the team, instead of someone who needs hand-holding. Go the extra mile to prove yourself and if you’re the right fit for the role, you might just get converted after your internship to a full-time hire.