I love interns. I love hiring them and mentoring them and coaching them. But I also find it super challenging too, because many intern’s expectations don’t match up with the role and when that happens, there is a disconnect which is hard to manage.
Here is one pro tip to avoid that disconnect and keep you and your manager sane: You are not a full-time employee. It may sound obvious, but it’s true. The more you realize you only have four months to learn as much as you can/make the best impression on everyone around you the better off you’ll be.
It’s awkward being an intern. You have a short ramp-up period to become up to speed and once you are, your internship is over. It’s stressful. You want to make an impact but you don’t know what impact you’re having on your manager or your team.
Your goal is to make the best impression possible. You’re an intern and you, unfortunately, don’t get the same advantages as regular full-time employees. You may be assigned a laptop for the duration of the internship. You may be treated equally on your team and respected as a peer where your ideas matter. That all feels incredible and you feel like a valued member of the team. Don’t get too comfortable, however, and make sure you’re putting in the work every single day.
In any new job there is a probationary period to make sure you’re performing up to the standards of the position. Then once you settle in and your boss realizes your value, you can start taking some advantages such as vacation time or being able to work from home. After time, you start getting more comfortable and settle into your role. You don’t need to constantly be worried about impressing people since it is clear you already have and you can just perform to the best of your ability.
Unfortunately, an internship is a probationary period that never ends. You never get past that period of comfort. You are constantly trying to impress your manager and those around you. You only have about four months to make a kick-ass impression during your internship. That means you get in there – fast. Ramp up and take on as much responsibility as they can give you/ you can handle and then it’s over. In a flash.
If you’re lucky they will have loved you and you’ll stay in contact about open positions in the future. More likely though, you’ll leave and move on and take your experiences with you and hope you can rely on your previous manager for a recommendation. But in order to do that, you need to use that four-month period to really be a rockstar. And that means showing up and being present and getting the job done right so that all your hard work is worth it.
Here are some additional ways to make an impact:
- Do the things you say you will do when you say you’ll complete them.
- Keep your manager updated with your progress.
- Ask your manager for help prioritizing.
- Don’t take on too much or else you’ll disappoint those counting on you.
- If you have an idea for an improvement, share it at the right time.
- Add value and always ask how you can help.
- Look for ways you can do more or come at a problem from a new perspective.
- Stay enthusiastic.
You might notice your manager might work from home sometimes. That sounds nice you say. You want to try that too. Look forward to having those luxuries when you have a full-time job but don’t expect them now. Just focus on doing a kick ass job each and every day.