In order to be a good intern, you have to first acknowledge why you are there. Is it to bolster your resume? Are you doing it for the experience? Do you want to keep busy over the summer? Money?
There is nothing wrong with using a good internship to boost your resume, or to make some money. Every job or internship should be used to best further your career. However, I believe the most important thing you should take to an internship is the desire to learn and get the most out of it as possible. This means attempting to gather as much information and advice as possible during your time, rather than just using it as additional experience on your resume. A good intern must be willing to put themselves out of their comfort zone. I experienced this when my boss asked me to get on the phone for the first time. Initially I was nervous as I had become comfortable in my role doing computer work. As a fairly introverted person, the prospect of actually talking to real people was a major challenge for me. However I soon realized after a few calls my anxieties were dissipating, and I was becoming more and more confident on the phone.
This leads into my next point, which is a good intern must fully embrace failure. My first few calls, as well as my phone voice, were as my boss put it “horrific” and “robotic”. However, I kept on practicing by making call after call. I also make sure to listen to the experienced recruiters in the office on the phone, and see how they interact with clients.
A good intern also makes the most of tedious work. While filing paperwork is not the most exciting thing in the world, it gave me a chance to learn more about the business process. As a business neophyte, I found it very helpful to learn about some of the basic processes of business, such as employment agreements, W4’s, and contracts.
This is not to say that I am the perfect intern by any means. There are still many ways in which I can improve and I am working everyday to do my best and challenge myself. Ultimately, I believe being a successful intern comes down to wanting to be there, and wanting to learn. That way you can not only boost your resume, but also increase your body of knowledge. It also helps to have a boss who is willing to challenge you, and not just send you on coffee runs.
Written by: Andrew Shlafmitz