During your Internship, you will develop a range of skills, build on your resume with great and relevant experience, and have an amazing opportunity to work with professionals in your industry. But above all, you will be getting your foot in the door at a company and industry you are interested in, and increasing your chances of attaining full-time work in the future.
As we know, first impressions and positively impressing on your co-workers is important. Being the “newbie” intern in the office might be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be! We have compiled a list of tips to consider to develop your interpersonal communication and by extension, strengthen your organisational and management skills as an intern.
Arrive at Work Early and Ready to Work
For the normal 9-5 jobs, it isn’t much to spare an extra five to ten minutes at the start and end of your workday to arrive at work early and leave late. This little detail will simultaneously impact your schedule minimally whilst showing your co-workers or managers your enthusiasm for your role – great brownie points to collect as an intern.
If it is your first day in your internship, it is highly recommended to arrive early to your orientation to ensure you don’t miss any crucial paperwork or directions. In addition, time-related stress can be reduced by giving you the extra minutes to complete your daily tasks and train you to work/time-manage more efficiently.
Dress to Impress
How you dress or present yourself in your internship to your colleagues will make an impression before you exchange words. Wearing the appropriate clothes, be it uniforms or by a strict dress code, is crucial to impressing others – especially as an intern. Don’t forget to choose clean, coordinated clothes and iron them before leaving your house. Consider the level of formality at work and buy clothing that is both comfortable and relatively formal. It helps to imagine where you want to be in the long-run in your career – what role is it? What would you wear in that position? With that, select the appropriate smart outfit that dresses the part- embrace the age-old maxim of “faking it ‘til you make it”!
Make a Lasting Impression at the First Meet
A strong handshake, warm smile and confident attitude can help you win your co-workers over. People will appreciate you remembering names, job roles and positions, which is an effective strategy to show you pay close attention which psychologically appeals to people. Take on this advice and introduce yourself to people as frequently as possible (without accidentally re-introducing yourself) such as anyone you meet standing near the coffee maker or at the printer. These extroverted qualities allow you to practice being more outgoing and approachable, as you avoid awkward silences.
It helps build your commanding presence if you have an introduction speech prepared before greeting people. For example, you might use the following prompts throughout a greeting:
Think of this as an elevator pitch about yourself. Preparing prompts for one-on-one or group meetings will break down social barriers and show your leadership skills to your co-workers. Of course, give your colleagues time to speak so that you are not overtaking the conversation. Prove your interest in their background and ideas by listening intently while asking them questions too.
Nurturing a relationship with your co-workers in a new workplace is especially important as an intern. Don’t forget, during your Internship, you can benefit from learning about other roles and industries – you might find that you have a likening to it.
Positive Body Language
As long as you maintain confident body language in your internship, your colleagues are much more receptive to your ideas or opinions. It is as simple as practising a poised posture, making eye contact or other minor body language cues that suggest your attentive listening and assertive speaking ability.
The schedule of working 9 – 5 for an intern might be gruelling if it is your first work experience Positive body language can also be used as a disguise on the days you feel unusually unenthusiastic or energetic- utilising affirmative non-verbal signs during conversation or interaction can reduce the need for verbal actions. This means your colleagues will see your slumpy appearance before they acknowledge anything profound you may say. So sit up straight and chin up!
Organise Your Work Schedule
Plan out your day with a daily planner or curated timetable which prevents you from forgetting important events or deadlines during your internship. Your co-workers would especially appreciate it if you were on top of your tasks and team assignments or were punctual to business meetings. Having a schedule will allow you to complete your work timely and demonstrate your reliability and top-notch organisational skills to your colleagues. This will enable you to work consistently throughout the day or week, at a sustainable pace which won’t overwhelm you with work. In addition to reducing your workload in the short and long term, you will find yourself rushing projects less and building excellent work etiquette for the future.
Take the Initiative in Business Projects
By simply holding a pen and paper to take notes during business meetings, or by offering to organise the online drive for team assignments, you have boasted your potential as a participative and reliable team member or co-worker. Little actions can add a lot of value to your work culture.
During meetings, you must speak up and voice your ideas or concerns and help guide conversations into more productive or relevant subject matters – all opinions are valid and will show excellent intern enthusiasm and initiative.
Be Proactive and Offer Help to Your Colleagues
If you can spare anytime during your internship days, it is a good opportunity to offer your help and guidance to your co-workers who might be struggling to meet deadlines. Instead of kicking back and putting your feet up on the table, be proactive and lend a hand to your colleagues in case they need help. This will show not only you taking initiative but you are competent for extra work. As your industry experience builds as an intern, so will your reputation as a real team player.
Contribute to a Healthy Work Culture
With management hierarchy flattening in many businesses, a democratic approach is the alternative, with each employee being responsible for the overall atmosphere and environment in their workplace. To help keep your workplace buzzing and positive, you can contribute by making friendly suggestions to encourage productive workflows such as incorporating plants or a ‘Bring Your Pet to Work Day’ which are both lively concepts as well as refreshing changes to the business work culture.
Learn From Your Mistakes
You may make a mistake during your internship – but don’t fret. Truth is, no one is perfect – even those who are Managers, CEO’s or Director’s, and that’s okay! Internships are learning experiences and allow you to gain industry skills in a safe work environment. If a mistake is made, your colleagues will understand as long as you can take accountability and responsibility for any corrections you must make. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you must take on constructive criticism from your co-workers to grow from your mistakes and not make the same ones twice. People will be pleased to see your growth after any accidents while you can continue to take positive steps forward in your career by being mature and rectifying your own mistakes.
If you take on these tips, your chances of impressing your co-workers will be maximised. Having read the advice provided, the skills and knowledge you gain from your internships are transferable to all other aspects of your work life such as productivity or organisation. So, practice working well alongside others and you will soon see the vast array of benefits!