David Qaoud (@DavidQaoud on Twitter) is a marketing and advertising student at Northwest Missouri State University who is on track to graduate in December.
By David Qaoud
For the past two summers, I have done an Internship with AT&T Services downtown St. Louis, Mo. To say that I have learned a lot would be an understatement. I want to give you some helpful advice on how you can absolutely thrive during your internship. Of course there’s more than 10, but the following are the top 10 things every intern must do:
Tip #1: Take Initiative.
Inspired by a recent Harvard Business Review Article, taking initiative is the single most important thing you must do during your internship. Your job is to make your boss’ life easier and produce results. Always try to anticipate what your boss needs and deliver it before he or she asks.
Tip #2: Work Hard.
To state the obvious, you must work hard. Every day you must have the mentality that you’re going to give 110% effort in all that you do. Once you leave after completing your internship your boss may forgot a lot about you, but if you worked hard, he or she will never forget that.
Tip #3: Be Humble.
Most interns aren’t humble. Don’t be that intern. Cultivate a sense of humility in your life in and out of work. Nothing is more attractive than humility and nothing is more unattractive than arrogance. Pride comes before destruction and humility comes before honor. Which do you prefer?
Tip# 4: Under Promise and Over Deliver.
This is a sure fire formula for success. Credentials are good but results are better. You got in the door but to stay in the door you must produce. Period. Under promising and over delivering in everything will help you in that area.
Tip#5: Be Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak.
The last thing you want to be known for is the intern who talked too much. The more you talk the less people listen. The more words you use the less power your words will have. Listen twice as much as you talk and you will thrive in your communication.
Tip #6: Treat Everyone Equally.
I met Randall Stephenson who is the CEO and Chairman of AT&T. I have also interacted with most of the custodians on my floor. Always show respect for everyone and never show partiality because of someone’s status or position. Treat everyone the same and treat others the way you want to be treated.
Tip #7: Never Feel Inferior.
The moment you feel superior or inferior your identity is in the wrong place. In one sense you must be humble, but in another you must have confidence. If you don’t believe that you can get the job done, no one else will. Be confident and don’t feel inadequate.
Tip #8: Ask a Lot of Questions.
I can’t stress this enough. Ask as many questions as you can. It’s better to ask a stupid question than it is to make a stupid mistake that could have been avoided. Your boss knows you’re an intern and they expect you to ask questions. Never hesitate to do so.
Tip #9: Be Observant.
Perhaps the most shocking thing I learned while interning is the amount of gossip and immaturity that is prevalent within the workforce today. Some people in their forties still act like they’re 14. Take note of everything—avoid the negative things and imitate the positive ones.
Tip #10: Take Advice.
I have met a lot of senior executives within AT&T. The main question I always ask at the end of our time together is, “What’s the biggest piece of advice that you have for me?” Executives love to answer that question and I have learned a great deal from doing so.
My advice for you? Follow those ten steps.