An Interns Survival Guide
Writer : Tarlon Khoubyari
Tips and tricks for your summer internship
Internship season is upon us. As a young professional, entering these environments for the very first time can be extremely intimidating and overwhelming. Internships are great ways for you to get real-world experience in your profession. You learn more in your internships than in your four or five years at University. The experience as an intern gives you a taste of what working in a workforce looks like, minus all the free swag and food. In the technology industry, working as an intern could possibly be your best or worst summer yet. Every company has a different culture, internship program, and overall feel but trying different companies throughout your college years gives you a well-rounded idea of what you like and what you don’t like.
To make sure you are getting the most out of your internship, here are some tips :
1: Be a sponge.
The next 10-12 weeks are going to go by FAST. You will learn so much along this journey so keep yourself open to it. For the first week or two, ask questions and absorb everything around you. Always carry a journal or notebook with you and refrain from being on your phone too much. It gives people the impression that you’re not listening and would much rather be on Instagram than working. Open yourself up to experiences you may not think are valuable. You are there to learn so take advantage of all the things you are being introduced with. Lean into what you don’t know and don’t be scared to ask questions. No one should ever make you feel bad for asking what you don’t know. You save yourself and others so much time by doing so. Find that balance between asking questions and critical problem-solving.
2: Dress comfortably but tastefully
Tech environments have casual attire policies but you still want to make a good first impression. Wear clothes that make you feel powerful, strong, and confident. If you choose to wear heels, make sure you can wear them all day or keep comfortable shoes in your bag or car to change out of.
3: Find your own intern family
In the next 10 weeks, you will go through ups and downs. Your manager may not be the person to vent out your anxiety too. Make friends with other interns on your team or floor. If you don’t have any interns, make friends with people on your team that are closer to your age. It’ll be an awesome networking opportunity and a chance for you to do things outside of your job. You spend most of your time with them you might as well enjoy the people you work with. You will be working a lot of hours so it’s good to develop some balance into your life.
4: Schedule 1-1’s with your mentor or manager every 2 weeks.
As mentioned before, the next 10 weeks will go by fast and it’s important to get feedback from people you report you. Feedback will only make you better and give you a sense of what you’re doing right, what can be improved on, and a chance for you to ask your manager questions. This person should be someone who sees your work often or you normally interact with.
5: Shadow, shadow, shadow.
You may not always have something to do but to make use of your idle time, schedule 15-30 minutes with team members from other teams to see what their job is like. It will give you a feel of what different people do, offers a chance for you to network, and strengthen professional relationships. Ask your manager who they think a good person would be to shadow based on your goals and their network, they’d connect you to valuable people. Try to shadow someone new every week.
Enjoy your internship and make the most of it. There are tons of opportunities for women in technology to get involved with some internship program. You will truly understand what you enjoy and what you don’t.