Post #29 How to be the Best Intern
What will everyone say about you as you fulfill your internship duties? What will they say after your departure and you are back on campus? Everything you do and say as an intern will influence the degree to which your employer appreciates you. In order to dominate your engineering internship, it helps to act like every person is your boss.
You may have a few levels of management, that is common in the corporate world. You could report to a team lead, who may have a direct supervisor. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind as an intern is to pretend everyone is your management. Ultimately, anyone and everyone who works directly with you will form an opinion of you. During and after your internship, your department will have discussions. They will share opinions, stories and examples of things you did and how you performed. It is possible they may want to extend a full time offer to you upon your graduation. Or, it is possible they may not want you to return. As I mentioned in Post #28, be professional and stick to discussions that involve business or school.
This is the person who is responsible for providing work to you. It is possible your direct supervisor may delegate this task to your mentor or to another team member. But your direct supervisor is the person who will have the most influence over your future status at the company. It is possible you could be asked to return for another internship. Or, it is also possible you could be invited to work as a full-time employee. As an intern, you need to show your boss that you are resourceful. Resourceful means you take initiative by asking many questions, almost as if you’re on a scavenger hunt. It also means you don’t require supervision and you can produce good results with vague instructions. Show that you understand how to receive constructive criticism. It is ideal if you get along well with everyone (see Post #26 for more on soft skills). Always ask questions if you don’t understand. Meet your deadlines. And above all else, always complete your work 100% prior to submitting.
Remember that from day one, people will be judging your actions. This is fine, in fact, this is normal. All they are trying to do is gage whether or not you would make a great employee. You can dominate your engineering internship if you think of every colleague as being your boss.