Being an intern should be the time in your career that you learn the most diverse skills from many different people in your office. You get to sit in on meetings, mingle with your coworkers in the kitchen during the lunch hour, or overhear a conversation between two people next to you. What you don’t expect as an intern is quarantine, shelter-in-place, and working from home!
I am so grateful to still have had a job through this pandemic; however, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough being an intern who started two weeks before the city-wide shut down. Learning to adapt to working with a new company, new people, and new skills, all while working from home for the first time took some getting used to. As a result, I have come up with the top three tips on how to be an outstanding intern in (or out of) the office.
Tip 1: Ask Questions, But Try to Find the Answer Yourself First
I’m not here to say you should never ask any questions or you should already know the answer to everything, but trying to find the answer to your question yourself can help you learn how to be more independent in your work environment. In my role as an intern, finding answers myself has forced me to learn the processes and systems that JP uses in its daily routines. Of course, if I have exhausted all my resources and I still can’t find the answer, I ask! Asking questions as an intern will show your employer that you are willing to learn anything and everything and ultimately, you will!
Tip 2: Add Yourself to Meetings
Depending on your work environment, this one can be tricky but it’s worth it to ask your bosses if you can sit in on meetings with them. As an intern, I go to our google calendars at the start of every week and add myself to as many virtual meetings as I can so I am able to learn different processes of creating a campaign and can listen in on how our team communicates with our clients. This will better help us prepare for when we may be leading those meetings in the future.
Tip 3: Offer Your Help
It’s a fact that some people get overwhelmed when they have too much on their to-do list. As an intern, you might have days where your to-do list is getting short, and you have extra time on your hands. When this happens, ask your team if they need help with anything or if there’s anything you can take off their to-do list to make their lives easier. This will relieve stress for them and give you an opportunity to learn something new or practice skills you’ve previously learned.
Bonus Tip for Quarantine/Working from Home: Make a To-Do List (Including Home Tasks) and Take Mini Breaks
I’ve made a to-do list every day to help me stay on track during quarantine. I always include a few tasks to do around the house like clean my bedroom or bathroom, do dishes or wash laundry, or even get in an at-home workout and make something delicious for lunch! It’s become a bit of a race to see how fast I can empty the dishwasher and reload it LOL. Also take a few 10-minute breaks to mindlessly scroll social media or cuddle with your dog. These mini-breaks have been helping me stay on track and stay off social media when I am doing my actual work.
Whether your internship experience is in your company’s office or from your home desk space, you can make the best of it and learn so many new things. Take every opportunity as a chance to learn something new and grow in your career. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, invite yourself to meetings, offer your help, and always make a to-do list!
—SHAELEY CARTER, Intern