How to intern like a boss

By Paige Rost, content marketing intern

Being an intern can be stressful and intimidating. For many, an internship is the first real world work experience they take on, often with limited knowledge of what the job actually entails. It’s also when you find out the lessons you were taught in the classroom are not even close to what you will be asked to perform at the internship.

No need to worry, though, because with the right skills, the internship can be an experience of growth and achievement.

Here are four tips to help you intern like a boss.

1. Remember you are an intern. One of the most important things to remember as an intern is that you’re just that, an intern. Your primary job is to complete tasks with enthusiasm while asking questions along the way. Check in with your supervisor to make sure each project is being done the way they want it done, not how you think it should be done. Every company has standards and policies they abide by, which you might not be fully aware of. Assuming your way is right is never the answer.

2. Dress to impress. You’ve heard it before — and for good reason. Showing up each day prim and proper, just like the CEO would, will make you appear more competent and prepared. There is a way to show your style and personality through your clothes and appearance while keeping it professional. Making sure your shirt is all the way tucked in and your belt matches your shoes are simple ways to make you appear more professional. Always follow the dress code in the same manner as the employees — even though you’re an intern.

3. Be on time. Strolling into the office 15 minutes late may not seem like a deal breaker, but it can leave a bad impression. Best practice is to try and be there at the same time, if not before, everyone else arrives. If you’re sitting at your desk working away when your boss walks in, you appear to have a real interest in bettering yourself. Same rules apply for taking a lunch break. As an intern, it’s best not to walk out and disappear for an hour each day. Try to bring a lunch and snacks so you do not feel tempted to disappear for extended amounts of time.

4. Control your body language. Being aware of your body language is key. If it’s not controlled, your body language could project a message of its own that is the complete opposite of your words. Always make sure your body and verbal responses agree so that you don’t send mixes messages to your superior. You can also control your body language to show the office you are alert, aware and ready to work. Fidgeting your hands during a meeting or shaking your leg may make you appear antsy or nervous. Try to stay still and be attentive to the speaker. These gestures will also help you seem more mature and experienced, even if you’re still in college.

Applying these basic skills and tools will help you blend in — in a good way — so that your work achievements stand out and you’re remembered as more than “that one summer intern.”