5 Ways to Impress Your Employer as an Intern

Starting a new internship can be overwhelming to say the least.  The first day of an internship usually consists of a grand tour of the office, meeting twenty staffers whose names you do not remember, and being introduced to a thousand new tasks that you will be expected to perform.   An intern’s first step should be to take a deep breath and absorb all the information that is being thrown at you slowly.  However, keep in mind that it is never too early to make a good impression on your supervisor or your colleagues.

Step 1:  Become familiar with the staff at the office.  On the first day, send an email with a brief introduction of yourself to the staff in your department or the people who you will be working or interacting with.  Make sure to communicate what aspect of the internship interests you.  For example, if you are interested in politics, state that you are interested in writing press releases on the 2012 presidential campaign.  This way, if staffers are looking for an intern for a specific project that fits with your interests that you mentioned, they are more likely to delegate the project to you.

Step 2: Always be prompt.  Whether you are showing up to work in the morning or attending a meeting, punctuality is always important to an employer.  Showing up to work a few minutes early shows that you are dedicated and committed to the internship, which are good qualities to have as an intern.

Step 3: Demonstrate to employers that you are willing to go the extra step during the course of this internship.  While you are at work, do not log onto Facebook, surf the Internet, or text on your phone.  In order to get the most out of your internship, an intern should always show he or she is focused and ready to learn.  You can check your email occasionally depending on the supervisor but do not spend hours answering emails while you are supposed to be working on another task.

Step 4: Ask questions.  Supervisors appreciate the fact that interns are trying to learn as much as they can during the course of their internship.  Do not hesitate to ask questions if you are unsure how to do something or forget how to perform a task.  Supervisors do not expect interns to know how to do everything they are assigned.  They are also open to answering any questions that you might have because supervisors often need all the help they can get, which is why they do not mind training interns.

Step 5: Dress professionally.  One of the easiest ways to impress your employer or supervisor is to show them that you know how to dress appropriately for the office.  It is always better to dress more conservatively.   Usually, if your outfit is appropriate for church or meeting your grandparents for a nice dinner, it will be appropriate for the office.  Girls should be mindful of the length of their skirts and opt for dress pants.  There is a general rule that shoulders should be covered so wear a blazer or cardigan if you plan on wearing a sleeveless top.  For boys, a button down dress shirt and dress pants is a solid choice.  There is usually no need for a tie.

About the author:

Victoria Lee, Pro, May 28, 2015. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Victoria Lee, Pro, May 28, 2015. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)


Victoria Lee is a undergraduate student at George Washington University and is currently a communications intern with the Brookings Institution. In the past, she has interned for the Nevada State Treasurer, Senator John Ensign, Representative Dean Heller, the Nevada Community Foundation, and the Asian Chamber of Commerce.


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