How to be a good intern

Daisy Marshallon 6 June 2023
Intern sat at desk with laptop and notebook

Top tips from a fellow intern who has picked up some knowledge along the way…

Ok so you followed Student Hut's tips for securing a dream internship placement and got the work experience of your dreams. Now what?

What will your internship look like in the first week?

No one is going to expect you to know anything. You are here as an intern not a manager, the whole point of your role is to learn. Google is your bestie. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help or explanations.

There will be loads of new vocabulary to learn. I recommend writing down any words you don’t understand and asking someone to explain them. 

The first week will be challenging as new information is coming at you from all directions. Remind yourself it’ll get easier and try to enjoy the learning process. 

Also remember you can “fake” it till you make it. Look people in the eye when they talk to you, say hello in the mornings. Project confidence. One way you can do this is taking initiative on how you seek out info.

How do you manage your work tasks as an intern?

It’s useful at the end of a training session or task brief to quickly repeat back to the person what you understood about the task to double check you’ve got it right. The person explaining the task won’t always know what experience you have. 

Make notes so you can remember the different steps you have to take. These will be useful to refer back to for similar tasks. If you get something wrong or have made a mistake, people are there to help. If someone else notices you’ve done something wrong, this isn’t a personal attack but a lesson.

It’s also good to ask questions. Watch everyone in the office, they’re asking each other for clarity all the time. You’ll come across as humble and enthusiastic, not incapable.

Check your email and messages regularly because this is how colleagues interact internally. Even if they want to chat to you in person, they may message you first to see if you’re available. 

How do you manage the office environment as an intern?

Every office is different. Observe, listen and take in how people interact with each other. You don’t have to be super sociable if that isn’t you. Likewise being the loudest in the room when you’ve just arrived won’t be a good look.

Some relationships will remain professional whilst others may develop into more friendly ones. But while in the workplace, you should be keeping things professional anyways. Think about what topics maybe aren’t appropriate for that environment! Keep it safe for work.

Also the lunch break is yours. If you want to socialise you can, a group will often go out together and pick up food to have back in the office. Equally you could go on a walk or take time to yourself. 

Other top tips

  • You get back what you put into an internship. It’s up to you to make the most of it. 
  • People have taken all kinds of paths to get there. Seeing how people have gone from job A to career B is great conversation to make.
  • Use a password manager, you'll repeatedly have to log into different platforms.
  • You can go to the toilet whenever you want.
  • You can eat a snack whenever you want.
  • Take time to stretch, make a cup of tea or grab a snack.
  • Bring a pair of headphones.

Have you considered doing an internship? Join the Student Hut Community today and let us know in our opinion panel.

Daisy Marshallon 6 June 2023