I remember touring my parents around Google’s HQ Main Campus, hoping to bedazzle them with the Android dessert statues, colorful bikes, and delicious variety of free food available at the 20+ cafés. I wanted to show them my appreciation for all that they’ve done to get me here, and I was afraid it would be the first and the last time that I’d have the luxury of doing this. Who knew if I would even be lucky enough to be invited back as a full-time employee?
No matter what the end result would be, I stepped into my internship knowing that I would give it my absolute 120%. Being able to intern for the best company to work for was truly an opportunity of a lifetime — even Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn would agree if you’ve seen the movie “The Internship.” That’s why I wanted to share some of my personal experiences and hopefully inspire others to believe they could make the most out of their internships and attain a full-time job offer as well. While my experiences are about Google, I hope this will be helpful to interns at any company this summer.
Here are my 5 takeaways:
- Don’t just deliver, always overdeliver
If there is one thing you know you’ll be evaluated on, it’s your core role and how you performed against expectations. What you should do is understand clearly what is expected of your role and outperform those expectations. You may want to read #10 in Google’s core values. And yes, there are other interns around, but don’t let the competition (that’s in your mind) get to you. Focus on your own tasks and add value in ways your team has never seen before. Develop the habit of often asking “what more can I do?”
- Meet with your manager weekly:
Having weekly 1-on-1s with your manager is crucial to communicate your progress and ask for feedback to make even more progress. I always had an agenda prepared for our 30-minute meetings and I would talk a bit about my personal life first before jumping into the professional stuff. One tip I learned from a close friend and fellow intern, Tyler, was to send weekly recap emails to my manager providing a snapshot of what I had accomplished, learned, and hoped to improve on. Managers play a significant role in your performance evaluation and consideration to return to the company, so be sure to keep them in the loop!
- Network, network, and network:
Presence is mighty important when it comes to succeeding in your internship. Whether it is the simple “good morning” when you come into the office or the afternoon “hello” in the micro-kitchen, you should always introduce yourself and expand your friends circle within the workplace. You want them to want to work with you now and in the future as well. Each week, I would challenge myself to meet or get to know 3 people at the company and be humbly curious about them and their experiences. I challenge you to do the same. Ask for advice and be ever so gracious for any bit of time you receive from them.
- Seek life-long mentorship:
These are your supporters, role models, and heroes at the company who understand why it’s so important to give back because they may have once been in your shoes before. I had 3 Google mentors (2 within my team, 1 outside) who were so critical to my success because they would share their wisdom with me, motivate me to be even better, and introduce me to incredible people and resources. When you seek out these mentors, don’t just talk to them about work/career-related things. Take a genuine interest in them personally and develop a friendship that will last beyond your internship. Mentorship is forever valuable to your long-term success. I still meet with my mentors today, and I am glad to say that they still have my back.
- Design your “Googley” experience: “Googleyness” is the way we like to describe our culture here at work. To me, this word means creating the most memorable, meaningful, and impactful experience for yourself and for others around you. Take the time to create an internship bucket list. Mine included everything from riding bikes to every cafe with my fellow interns to approaching one of the founders to say “hello” (which I did…and failed miserably at…but ask me about my encounter with Sergey later). Make team bondings happen, express your gratitude to anyone whose helped you along the way, and be the most creative human-being you know in making the most out of this experience. A “Googley” experience won’t just happen to you, you need to make it happen for yourself. Leave your internship with zero regrets.
There you have it! Be the self-starter who doesn’t just sit back and let things fall on your lap. Communicate effectively with your manager and be a friend toeveryone. Be bold and create a journey that will leave you with skills and memories you could carry with you forever.
Now of course, as much as you are being evaluated throughout your internship, don’t forget you are also assessing whether or not the company is a great fit foryou. Trust me, it isn’t all or nothing. When you get back to school, there will be plenty of recruiting opportunities that await you whether or not things work out with this company. So don’t fret!
As I am writing this, I recognize how blessed I am to have received an offer after my internship. After all the hard work and worrying, it turned out that wasn’t the last time I would tour my parents around Google. I hope you’ll be able to take your loved ones to your dream company one day and thank them for all they’ve given you to help you get there.
Best of luck to you and wishing you success at your internship!
This article was first published on LinkedIn.