March 14, 2006

How To Become A Successful Intern

I have had the privilege of interning at a great company for almost a year now and I have learned several valuable pieces of information. Along with learning skills that pertain to my job tasks, I have learned professional skills that will most benefit me in the future.

My internship experience has been successful this far and I hope to continue learning and "soaking" in everything I can. In fact, I have listed many successful attributes of an intern that have helped me thus far.

How To Become A Successful Intern…

1. Always be willing to take on new projects, the "Yes I Can" attitude
  • *This allows you the opportunity to show your skills and build TRUST with your co-workers
  • *Every new project teaches you something new and this broadens your skill set
  • *Even if the project is tedious, do it. After all you have to earn your position

2. Challenge Yourself to NO end

  • *Step out of your comfort zone
  • *Network with your co-workers, introduce yourself, find out what they are working on
  • *Finish projects fast and accurately, then ask for more work

3. Ask questions, Be curious

  • *If you are unsure of something, ask for clarification
  • *Make sure you know what needs to get done and when
  • *Ask questions about your department and the overall business

4. Communicate with your team

  • Always follow up on emails and tasks
  • *Keep your managers informed on your progress with current tasks
  • *Let your team know of any hardships you are facing, perhaps they will have a suggestion

5. Do not be afraid to fail

  • *As an intern you will make mistakes, but take responsibility and learn from it
  • *Do not failure hold you back from challenging yourself
  • *Remember that as an intern you are not expected to know everything, so make an effort to learn

6. Prioritize Your Work

  • *Be careful you do not miss deadlines, so prioritize your tasks so you do not fall behind
  • *Ask your managers to help you with this..."What is most important?"
  • *Set your own deadlines/timelines for completion of tasks (preferably 1 day before the actual due date)

7. Find a Mentor who is willing to help your career growth, perhaps the most benefical learning experience

  • *LEARN everything you can from this person
  • *Use this mentor as a resource for questions and learning new skills
  • *Refer to your mentor for advice (especially during hardships)

8. Figure out how you can ADD VALUE to your team

  • *What does your team need? Figure that out, and make it happen
  • *Exceed expectations on your work, never just settle for the minimum
  • *Be an attention to details and exceed expectations


  • *Shine above everyone else
  • *Make your presence known
  • *Smile, dress professionally, and perform!

10. Be a human "sponge"

  • *Soak in all of the new skills and knowledge you are gaining
  • *LISTEN carefully to your coworkers, mentors, and managers...they ALL can teach you something
  • *Observe your team and company. How do they work together? What can be improved?

Internships are important since you are provided with the opportunity to learn and gain experience. Use this as an opportunity to explore and learn so you are prepared for the corporate world when you graduate. Make an effort to shine and constantly challenge yourselves.

Any questions, please let me know here or email me:


At 3/15/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christopher, not only is it excellent advice for interns, it's terrific counsel for anyone working within any organization. Wise beyond your years, you are.

At 3/15/2006, Blogger Jeremiah Owyang said...

Chris you've done a great job growing yourself, learning, and obtaining skills for the real world. I suspect you're light years ahead of your peers.

I've got to add a few more points

11: Experience and learn new things, branch out and grow into new areas. Now's the time to get a strong broad foundation

12: Have fun, enjoy it, soak it in, there's another 40 odd years of work left to do, don't forget to live your youth!

At 3/16/2006, Blogger superLisa said...

Great tips from a great intern! I'm putting these on the bulletin board above my desk. Excellent words to live by, whatever position you are in.

At 3/16/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Martha Hess
This is invaluable peer-to-peer advice. I have worked with many interns in my professional life but very few come in with the maturity and the attitude to learn, and make a contribution, that Christopher does. This approach makes for a much easier transition to the career you envision for yourself.

At 3/16/2006, Blogger Gilbert Salazar and Family said...


Thank you for your additions. In fact you have a valid point here that interns must HAVE FUN and not get too focused on work. We are young in our careers and being able to balance the work life with "fun" is very important. THANKS!


At 3/16/2006, Blogger Gilbert Salazar and Family said...

Hi Djhowatt,

Thank you for your comment. These are goals that I work towards each day and I agree that anyone can use this advice. I hope to continue my work and strengthen these skills. Thanks again for your input!


At 3/16/2006, Blogger Gilbert Salazar and Family said...

Hello Superlisa,

You are too kind! I am glad that you will be able to use this post for your own use. However, you are doing a great job of exemplifying these already! Thanks again!


At 3/16/2006, Blogger Gilbert Salazar and Family said...

Hi Anonymous (Martha Hess),

Thank you for your kind comments. I definately come to work each day asking myself "How can I improve my skills, finish my work efficiently, and add value." I really appreciate your aknowledgement as I continue the journey to finding my career. Thanks again!


At 3/16/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, this is very well articulated. Your ideas are right on target for moving ahead successfully in any endeavor. The two ingredients you have - a great attitude and a good strategy - will take you far. Excellent!
Kathryn Kozuch

At 3/19/2006, Blogger Gilbert Salazar and Family said...


Thank you very much for your comment. I strive to keep a great attitude and an open mind each day at work. I am glad that I have made a difference and you are able to see it. Thanks again for your kind comment.



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