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31-Jan

6 ways to be an invaluable intern

The idea of being an intern may not seem ideal. But if you do it right you can get yourself on the ladder and a full-time job could be yours…

Internships are often seen as a necessary evil for job hunters, and some companies look at interns as dispensable workers that come and go.

But there are many positive aspects to the role, and it can be a great introduction to a new career, so it’s important to make yourself invaluable.

1. Do the job no one wants
While you might be asked to do lots of filing, tea making and general admin, to make yourself invaluable try and find a large job that’s been kicking around the office for a while that no one really wants. It could be reorganising the filing system or working with a difficult client. The aim is that when your internship comes to an end, your work on this project will be sorely missed,. And you might be asked to stay on.

2. Make people’s lives easier
As an intern, you’ll probably get a lot of training and help getting started. But once you’re up and running you should not only be part of the office but actually making life easier for your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to show your willingness to progress by tackling the smallest of jobs.

Offer to make your boss’s life easier by taking on the more “menial” tasks. By doing so you’re proving you’re committed to your role and keen, and if it means your colleagues don’t have to do those jobs, and that can only make you go up in their estimations.

3. Get involved in long-term projects
Having said the above, being an intern shouldn’t be purely about taking on odd jobs.

Try and get involved in a long-term project, or with an important client. This not only shows that you’re setting your sights high and want to prove you could be an asset to the company, but also will make it easier for you to be kept on. Especially if the project runs longer than your internship. If you’ve impressed both colleagues and the client, you may be asked to stay around until at least the end of the project, giving you more chances to make yourself indispensable.

4. Get yourself a mentor
Finding a mentor is a key element of being a successful intern. Having someone that can support you, help you find your way around, offer advice and show you the ropes will prove invaluable and make your time less stressful, especially in the early days.

Try and find someone experienced and outgoing, who won’t mind taking somebody under their wing, and it can only be of benefit to you.

5. Network and socialize
Where possible, use your time at your company to your advantage and make connections. Meet co-workers in other departments if you can, especially if your internship leaves you working exclusively for one area/department.

But don’t just limit yourself to doing this in the work environment – getting to know colleagues outside of work can provide great opportunities you might not have initially thought of. It’s easier to keep someone on if everybody enjoys their company.

6. Ask for feedback
If you’re prepared to take criticism in a bid to improve, you’re showing your boss you don’t want to be another intern that comes and goes in the blink of an eye, and feedback is an important way of discovering strengths and weaknesses you may or may not realise you have.