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6 Tips To Get The Most From Your Internship

6 Tips To Get The Most From Your Internship

Internships are a great way to find a job after college. A good internship can lead to references and work experience, but a bad internship can lead to spending a semester sorting paper clips. Follow these six tips to make sure you get the most from your internship instead of wasting your time with office supplies.

1.  Be interested.

Even if you’re bored out of your mind, you need to find an aspect of your job that is interesting. Maybe you have a really smart boss, or maybe you get to sit in on meetings about a cool project–or maybe it’s just you get to leave early on Fridays. Find something that you like and focus on it. This will make you excited to go to work, and you will be better at your job.

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If you can’t find anything, then at least act interested. Your internship great place to learn to “fake it, until you make it.” Also, this means, you’ll have to stay away from distractions, like social media. Unless social media is part of your internship, using it will make you look disinterested at best, or lazy at worst.

2.  Make friends.

You’ve heard it before, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” An internship is your chance to make personal connections in your field, so use that great personality to win over everyone–from the administrative assistant to the boss. You never know who you will need to ask for a reference, so make sure you remember to smile and ask people questions about themselves. These are the two quickest ways to make friends.

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3.  Master your job.

The quicker you master your internship duties, the quicker you will be given more responsibility. This means, you will want to master your job fast. How do you do this? First, listen to instructions. Second, jump in and start doing. Third, and most important, ask questions. The only way you’ll get the job done right is to know exactly what you are doing. So, ask questions. About five questions in, you’ll feel like you’re annoying the pants off people. Just remember, the most annoying interns are the ones who don’t do anything, and no one will be able to say that about you.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail.

You’re going to mess something up. Don’t worry, internships are a great place to fail. Your bosses won’t have a lot of expectations for you yet, so if someone asks for your help, just do it. You maybe successful, which could lead to more responsibility. If you fail, it’s okay, you’re just an intern. The only people who don’t fail are people who don’t take any initiative.

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5.  Make an impact (even if it’s tiny).

Even if you’re spending your days scraping gum off the bottom of shoes, you can bring ideas on how to organize or improve the process. Once you’ve built some rapport with your boss, then casually drop your ideas. This will be killer for your resume, because you will be able to show future employers you’ve improved company processes and you take initiative.

6.  Look for openings.

The goal of an internship is to find a job. An internship is a great place to do some “insider research.” First, find out how most people get into the company. This includes which positions are entry level and which positions turn over the most. If you want one of those, then talk to the manager and try to learn some of the job duties while you’re doing your internship. This will put you above the competition because you have already been trained–even if it’s just a little.

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So, be brave. Follow these six tips to rock you internship. You’re going to do great and land a job–while other graduates are still sending out hundreds of resumes.

More by this author

Kelsie Fannon

Kelsie is a journalist and writer who shares about productivity and money tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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