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5 Tips for Becoming a Star Intern

April 25th, 2011 · 2 Comments

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star internLet’s face it – internships are no longer a nice to have. These days, they are a must before you get out there to look for full-time work. And if you’ve found your way to any Internet job board, then you already know that growing companies are the place to find internships. Becoming an intern provides you with a lot of opportunities – the opportunity to learn, to get paid or receive credit, to learn new skills, network and make professional contacts. How do you ensure that you’ll find success during your internship? Here’s a list of the top-five things to keep in mind before your even walk through the door.

1. Your Boss is Busy: The reason why your boss hired you is because they are busy and need help. That means that any and every way that you can jump in and add value is yours for the taking and will likely be appreciated. So go ahead and get in there. Here’s an example: “Hi Cari, you mentioned you have a big meeting on Friday. Is there anything that I can research for you or help you prepare for the meeting?”

2. Interning Gives You a Chance to Learn: So yes, even though your boss is busy, you have an opportunity to soak up a ton of information. But, you need to ask questions if you want to really want to maximize your experience. Try this: “Hi Lauren, do you have five minutes? I’d love to hear your thinking behind making those changes to the website.”

3. An Internship Gives you a Chance to Shine: Yes, as an intern, you’re developing your skills, contacts and hopefully your bank account. But bare in mind, the give-and-take of an internship is very much a two-way street. You need to bring to the table just as much as you’re taking away. Don’t be afraid to chime in when you see opportunities or have practical strategies for moving the ball forward. “Jonah, have you heard of (fillintheblank)? It’s this great new website/product/application that I think could be really helpful to us. Do you want to set up some time for me to walk through it with you?”

4. An Internship May Be A Short Term Gig: A lot of times, college students and recent grads look for internships hoping that they’ll lead to a longer term position. And sometimes they do. Alternatively, for a variety of reasons well beyond your control, sometimes an internship is truly a short-term position. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have long term benefits. In addition to the skills you picked up, perhaps your boss will serve as a reference or make some valuable connections for you. “Hi Asher, thanks so much for the opportunity to intern for you. I understand that you don’t have a full-time position open right now, but I was hoping we could stay in touch. Perhaps down the line you’d be willing to serve as a professional reference for me or make a few introductions to people in the field?”

5. Or It May Have Long Term Potential: Business owners need good people. Period. And sometimes they’ll be open to ideas that are presented to them. So if you haven’t previously discussed ongoing employment, consider broaching the topic armed with a few potential work arrangements. “Leo, I know we haven’t talked about whether this position could develop into a full-time position, but I was hoping you’d consider it. I think I’d be very valuable to your team when it comes to X and Y, and if you’re open to it, have given some thoughts to what a more ongoing position might look like.”

This is a guest post from Loren Porat. She wants you to keep these in mind as you travel along your internship path – she’s sure you’ll be pleased with the results.

Loren is from Urban Interns, an online marketplace that connects high-growth companies with talented candidates looking for internships, part-time jobs, freelance work and contract positions.

You can check it out at



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  2. Want An Internship? Want To Pay For It?

Tags: Interns

  • Anonymous

    Hi Loren

    I don’t know if I’d call this an internship per se but I once suggested to a friend of mine who was in the broadcasting business that he offer to work at the local tv station on a part-time basis for free after he’d been laid off elsewhere and couldn’t find work. I figured he’d at least be keeping busy, perhaps making new contacts and could keep his resume updated with the experience he was getting since they weren’t actually hiring at the time but needed some help. Sure enough he did end up getting a fulltime job offer from this employer so it worked out ok for him.


  • A Lundgren999

    The world is an as uber-competitive as you would think. I am amazed at the lack of quality candidates available. A steady track record is impossible to find.

    While I had an intern type position I quit after 5 weeks because a real job came through. I did not give up much.

    Xerox had an intern for 11.50 an hour and ran it as a national competition. I truely felt sorry for any one that thought they had a chance. I knew I could not afford to even apply as I needed to make real money over the summer.