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How to be a kickass intern

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November 8, 2013 by ncd6329

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Ten ways to set yourself apart from the rest:

1.  Be curious.

Curiosity will show those around that you want to learn.  Internships are about learning—not doing.  Show a desire to learn.  Ask to sit in on meetings that don’t necessarily involve you; ask to meet with executive management; ASK and you will likely receive.

2.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Asking a few questions is better than looking like an idiot.  You are an intern—ask away!  No one is going to get mad at you for asking a few questions.

3.  Find a mentor.

Find a person who perks your interest, is willing to help, and can listen to your questions.  Buy them beers…lots of them.  They will help you out in any way.  Finding someone who is a friend/mentor is the best bet.  Advice is cheap and can save you lots of time.

4.  Blog about it.

I was once asked in an interview, “So…. what exactly did you do for XYZ Inc.?”  I showed them my blog!  Blogging will allow you to keep track of the awesome things you have done!  Blogging also shows that you are relevant, you actually care about finding a job, and also provides a perfect venue to display your communication skills.

5.  Reckon ya’ oughta be able da talk perdy good.

Communication skills are the most valuable skills that you can possess.  I have seen countless mediocre minds rise to the top SOLELY because they were excellent speakers.  Practice whenever you can!  Plan presentations to your boss—they will love the initiative!

6.  Be your brand. 

To sell a brand you must have the Why Factor. People don’t buy what you do; they buy WHY you do it.  Create a narrative around your life and how your education, previous jobs, and future goal craft a story.  Tell a story—they’ll listen.

7.  Remember, school first; they’ll understand.

School really sucks sometimes but you have to finish!  I struggle with this one!  I know exactly what I want to do, what I am good at, and how to plan my “next step.”  While you are in school, put school first no matter what.  If you have tests coming up, keep your boss posted and let them know you will be busy with studies.  This is nothing to be ashamed of—being a dedicated student WILL impress your employer.  Split your time and give both the MOST effort possible.

8.  Go above and beyond beyond

Don’t do what is expected; do something unexpected!  Be sure to fulfill your required tasks at 110% effort but do that one thing that will set you apart from the rest.  Whatever that may be.  My advice—start a really cool, easily readable and interesting blog!

9.  Find EXACTLY what you love and do not love about the work you are doing.

I have found that I love social media, I love to travel, and I love leading passionate people.  Gravitate towards the things you love and identify what you do not love.  Internships are like an extended tryout for both parties involved.  If you hate it – leave it.

10.  “The hands you shake are more important than the grades you make.”

Grades are VERY important but they are not everything.  Having a solid GPA WILL, I repeat, will, open doors for you!  However, use good grades as a vehicle to the top but don’t rely on them.  People take students with good grades seriously and will give them a chance.  The connections and friendships that you make will get you much further than your 3.95 GPA.

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