1. Keep Your Priorities Straight
At this stage, you need the organisation more than it needs you. So, take those steps into the new office with utmost humility. While interning you are at the lowest rung of the hierarchy in the organisation. The only way people will sit up and take notice of you at work is through your performance. So, keep up with your work diligently.
2. Draw A Line, Maintain Balance
The last thing you want to be in your new environment is a wallflower. However, going to the other extreme and being over-friendly is also not the solution. Colleagues and potential employers will not find out that you’re talented and intelligent if you’re painfully shy. So make eye contact. Be cordial. Attend company events to get some face time with the company’s big guys. Higher-ups are often happy to hold forth with interns, but you also have to be careful about the tone you use to approach them. Remember you are there to learn. So, keep your language in check. Avoid making extremely casual talk the first few times until you’re not completely sure about how the person will react. Don’t intrude a conversation. Don’t start advising others or gossiping. And definitely, don’t tag along with colleagues everywhere they go.
3. Do Not Pick Sides
Getting into office politics at any point is a big no-no. You are very likely to overhear colleagues gossiping about workmates but fight all temptation to join in. If you don’t like somebody, keep it to yourself and vent at home. If your bosses are having an argument about a certain issue, let them rattle away and don’t give your two penny’s worth. Most offices tend to have cliques. But your job is to steer clear of taking sides.
4. Locate A Mentor
While you can’t take sides when there is a fight, finding yourself a mentor as far as work goes may take you a long way. Learn from the person whose work you admire and develop a relationship that can continue after your internship has ended. Professionals enjoy sharing their expertise and want to assist newbies. How do you spot one? It’s simple. A good mentor is someone who is willing to share their knowledge and expertise and wants to see his/her mentee succeed in the field.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
An internship is a learning curve. It helps you get an insight into a real job before you actually take up one. The level of responsibility is less, the aim is to absorb as much as you can in that stipulated time. If you do not know something, be honest about it. Be open to learning different things and don’t be stubborn about the work you are allotted.
6. Set ground rules for yourself
Once you have completed the task at hand, go to your boss to ask for more work. If there is nothing to do, leave for the day. Do not hang around in the office and surf the Internet aimlessly. Restrict your use of Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry messenger at work. Avoid using the office phone for making private calls. It does not reflect well on your work profile. Stick to your timings. Let the concerned people know about your prior commitments. Once they have set your timings, follow it to the T. Be punctual and do not leave work at your own whim. Likewise, do not take long lunch and tea breaks. It will create an impression that you’re avoiding work.