Standing Out as an Intern - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Career
May 10, 2022

Standing Out as an Intern

Geneva College sees immense value in internships and highly encourages the students at the college to pursue internships throughout their academic program. Internships can count toward college credits (credit amount is determined by hours worked throughout the internship) but are also done for the sake of experience.

Remember the goal of an internship is to gain experience, but the ideal scenario would be one in which you enjoy the company where you intern, you learn a lot, the company likes you and the work you do, and they either invite you back to intern again or offer you a full-time position for after you graduate.

Many people talk about the process of securing an internship which is of course important, but after the internship is secured, people tend to stop talking. What happens after the paperwork is signed and you become an official employee of the company? How do you become an asset to the company? How do you stand out as an intern?

7 “Dos” to stand out as an intern

1. Two words: work hard.

Sounds easy, right? Not quite. Not everyone is a hard worker, and this will show through intern performances. It can be easy to get comfortable and slack off after a couple of weeks of interning and you start getting the hang of things, but do not do this! Being a hard worker, especially nowadays, will be quickly noticed and appreciated.

2. Say “yes.” enthusiastically

As an intern, when someone asks you if you can do something, say “yes” every time (within reason) and do it with an eagerness and a smile on your face. It does not look good when a supervisor asks their intern to complete a task just for their intern to refuse or equally bad, say yes, begrudgingly. Many interns will complain that the task is too small for them to do, but you should remember that someone must do the task, and an intern willing to do the trivial will lead to offers to do something bigger.

3. Listen well and ask questions.

Being a good listener will eliminate questions you have to ask five minutes after your supervisor gets done explaining the task at hand. It will also allow you to ask questions up front, and this will show your supervisor you are engaged and listening well. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. A supervisor would much rather have you ask them questions than you not ask them and then do something wrong.

4. Be a buffalo.

When a storm comes, buffaloes, unlike cows, do not run away from the storm in hopes of outrunning it. When a storm comes, buffaloes run into the storm to get through it faster. What this means is that when problems occur throughout your internship (they will come and that is okay), it is crucial to be proactive and stay on top of the issue rather than doing nothing hoping and crossing your fingers it will work itself out. Act quickly and wisely when things go wrong and do not be afraid to go to your supervisor to create a plan to resolve the issue at hand.

5. Make friends with other interns.

Even if you are not working closely with the other interns, you are still going to be working with them throughout the entirety of your internship, so it is a wise idea to create established relationships with them. If you have a task you need help with or something else comes up, you can then ask a fellow intern who you have been intentional about getting to know for help, and there is a good chance they will! Not only this, but it is an opportunity to build your network with more people closer to your age.

6. Be present during lunchtime.

It can be very tempting to get on your phone and catch up on all the things you missed during your lunch break, but lunchtime is a terrific opportunity to really get to know, make connections, and build personal relationships with your coworkers.

7. Wake up every day understanding the opportunity given to you.

After the excitement of an internship wears off, it can be easy to forget the opportunity you have been given. Internships are not always glamorous or dreamy but going into each day with a thankful heart will show in the work you do and will be not only noticed, but also be appreciated by your coworkers.

Internships are a phenomenal opportunity for students to not only get connected in their desired field, but also network with employers and potentially get a head start on finding a full-time job following graduation. If you are a student seeking an internship, checking out indeed.com, handshake.com or creating a LinkedIn profile are just a couple of great places to start. In addition, colleges often have career development centers, like the one at Geneva College, that further help in the process. Happy internship hunting!

-Natalie Ray ‘23

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash