Thanks to Grace Mangigian for these great tips in her guest blog below.
This summer, I am working as an intern at PeopleLinx, a start-up focused on using social selling at an enterprise scale. After my first week on the job, I’ve compiled my top tips for internship success. Here is what I wish someone had told me before I started! Just a warning, some of my tips may be more relevant for those who work in a start-up culture, so use your best judgment.
- Ask for projects; If you’ve finished your assigned task, ask for more! Don’t be afraid to email other departments or ask people at lunch if there is anything you can help with. It reflects well on you, and you’ll end up with a broader skill set.
- Get lunch with your coworkers; You’ll learn a hundred times more about the company and the employees from talking to people at lunch. If people invite you out, go! Look into your coworkers on LinkedIn, and if you see something interesting that your supervisor has done, ask if you can get lunch with her and talk about it.
- Worry less about staying from 9 to 5 and more about what you do with the time; If there is anything I’ve learned from working at PeopleLinx, it is that it is more important to work hard while at work, and less important to fill a quota for hours. The focus should be on the projects you are tackling, not on the hours you are filling.
- Take a break; If your brain has stopped being productive, go get a snack or take a walk.. This is something PeopleLinx takes very seriously. Each employee, after hire, is given membership to a gym right in the building, and the office is stocked each week with fresh fruit and snacks to keep minds sharp. Be good to yourself, and you’ll be a better employee for it.
- Learn everyone’s name; This is a lot easier said than done, but still, you should make every effort to learn people’s names and quickly.
- Treat everything as a networking opportunity; The next two tips are directly related to this, but if a friend from school is doing an internship in the building next to you, meet up with them and their friends from their internship. Build your professional network. You never know if you’ll want to work in your friend’s company one day!
- Talk on the elevators; Even though they may not work at your company, if they are on the elevator, they are probably heading to some interesting company. Talk with other professionals! It’s fun, too.
- Talk on the train; Get to know the people you are commuting with each morning. One person overheard me describing my internship, and then we realized we had a mutual contact. Again, it is all about the networking.
- Be flexible; Don’t think you’re above scanning a few documents, or picking up the phone. This is especially relevant for those working at small businesses. Don’t get too boxed in to only working in your department. Help wherever you can.
- Look for mentors; Keep an eye out for future mentors. Ask your coworkers for guidance. Make sure to carry these relationships into the future.