How to Be an Amazing Intern

Worried about your first day at your internship? Here's a sure-fire way to get through it like a superstar!

Freelance Writer

Originally Posted: Feb 1, 2018
Last Updated: Feb 2, 2018

So you’re ready to head to your first day at your dream internship. You’re feeling pretty confident—you’ve prepared your office-approved outfit the night before and have a good idea about what types of tasks you might be assigned. However, you wonder if there’s any more you could do to make yourself stand out as great intern. Here’s a sure-fire way to get through your first day like a superstar.

Related: What Are Internships Really Like?

8:45 am

Although your official start time isn’t until 9:00, you arrive a bit early to show your supervisor that you have great time management and are ready to work. While there is nothing wrong with arriving right as the clock strikes, being early makes you stand out as someone who takes the job seriously.

After your early arrival, your supervisor explains the first task that you’ll be working on. While receiving instructions, you take notes with a pen and paper just in case you need to remember something for later. In addition, you listen carefully and try to be someone that only needs to be told something once, rather than someone who asks the same questions repeatedly.

11:00 am

You’ve been working on your first tasks steadily but are starting to feel a little tired because you’re not used to the work. While in school, if you felt tired you would just open up your phone and browse social media for a bit until you were ready to concentrate again. Resist the urge to use your phone until break time. This not only looks like you are wasting company time, but it may show that you are bored or uninterested in the work. If you struggle to concentrate for long periods of time, take quick trips to the bathroom or get out of your seat to get something to drink. Most people understand that it’s hard to sit for long periods of time (if your job is mainly sedentary), but going on social media whenever you can’t concentrate isn’t professional.

12:00 pm

It’s lunch time! While every company has different lunch traditions, try to sit with your coworkers and/or co-interns instead of just eating alone. Lunch breaks are a great opportunity to network. Although it’s tempting to want to relax after doing several hours of work nonstop, again, resist the urge to look at your phone the entire lunch break and engage with the people around you. Many people miss the extra opportunity to network because they’re too used to using their phones in their downtime instead of talking with others.

Related: Internship Do’s and Don’ts

2:00 pm

You’re starting to get the hang of your tasks and feeling pretty confident about your work. This is a perfect opportunity to show off your knowledge and skill set while still humbly being willing to learn. While a highly skilled intern is always valued, no one likes someone who is unwilling to learn and take feedback from others. No matter how good a worker is, there are always ways to improve. Ask for constructive criticism from your supervisor and coworkers to see how you can increase your job performance.

4:00 pm

As the work day starts to wind down, there may not always be enough tasks assigned to you to last the entire the day. Although some companies don’t mind if interns browse the internet or study if there isn’t enough work to be done, always ask if you can help the people around you first. Even though it may be a task that seems menial, showing that you’re willing to learn new things and help out your team are important characteristics in an intern.

5:00 pm

Congratulations—the work day is over and you can go home. Because you’re an intern and not a regular employee, you’re not expected to stay at the office until you finish your work and do overtime. However, every once in a while, try to stay behind an extra 10 or 15 minutes if you have unfinished work. Staying a little late not only expresses dedication, but it also shows a sense of teamwork, as many of your coworkers are probably sticking around to get a job done.

Before you do go home, thank the people around you for their help and guidance. Being a grateful intern goes a long way, as you’ll have to get up the next day and do it all over again!

Related: Video: How to Land an Internship

Have more advice to help other students with their internships? Maybe something else works for you? Let us know in the comments!

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About Naomi Hong

Naomi Hong graduated from Occidental College in 2018 with a degree in International Relations and Japanese and a minor in Economics. She currently works as a concierge/front desk agent at a luxury hotel in Southern California. She's passionate about hospitality and travel and hope to continue my career within the hotel industry. She also enjoys writing articles about career advice, studying abroad, and learning new languages. 


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