Interns can do some pretty embarrassing things. From accidentally calling a client by their competitor’s name to mistakenly microwaving a hot dog for 100 minutes, we’ve heard some bad stuff. You can never make a microwave that’s cooked a hot dog for over an hour and a half smell like a microwave again. But there are things you should do as an intern to advance to the next level. The cardinal rule is basic: Remember it’s not about you any more.
You’re not expected to know everything about the company, but you are expected to show some interest in finding out. That means you don’t answer “I don’t know” (you don’t fake it either). You have to figure out how you can get the answer, so you say something like, “How could I find that out?” Managers respect smarts, but one thing they respect even more is an ability to navigate through the company and harness all its resources. That’s a lot more valuable. As an intern you’re allowed to be wrong, but you’re not allowed to not be curious.
Don’t make more work for your manager than you have to. As an intern your value is not going to be instantaneous to the company. In fact you’re likely to slow em down if they deem you worthy enough for involvement in real processes. And that is a favor, you would be lucky. That means you don’t want your manager to have to hold your hand through everything. That means you might need to be assertive. And even at the risk of being wrong, you may have to be decisive and take a stand. Don’t be overconfident and don’t be too laid back. Your best bet is to find a mentor and observe them closely.
A lot of internships lead to offers. It’s a really smart path to take even if you’re not getting paid much or at all. The best thing you can do at this phase is fit in and learn the processes. Your genius idea to revolutionize the company may be incredible, but wait for the right time to divulge it. You may find as you learn more that the processes you want to change have good reason for their existence. You don’t need to be the rockstar just yet.
NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.