Hey there!

I really enjoy Manager-Tools but so far I haven't seen any content concerning internships. Are you guys going to talk about how to behave on an internship or it already have been done?

Thanks very much in advance

EricGagnon's picture

I open up this subject because I'm looking for answers to concerns that are important to my career: Internships. I don't know if internships are common in United States, but where I'm living (depending on the field of study of course) internships are very common. I think internships are really different than any other job because there is a lot to do:

  • Impress your supervisor
  • Create contacts for future references
  • Create job opportunities
  • And many more...

I ask the question to everyone:

Do you have any tips and tricks to do great within an internship?

Note: It's an internship on computer programming (that's my field of study)

Thanks in advance!

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

I don't think internships are any different to any other job. All the things you've listed are important where-ever you are in your career.

The 'Day One' new cast which was just posted in Career Tools will be helpful for your first day. So will the second rule of project team members (and as well as be on time, deliver the best quality you can). The project management casts will help too, since they help you understand the bigger picture of what's going on around you.

As a short list of behaviours I've seen and things I've had to tell my interns:

*Don't fall asleep in meetings (take notes, it helps you stay conscious)
*Be interested. Ask loads of questions about what people are doing and why. When they are busy, write down your question and ask them all in one when they're not so busy
*When they are busy, ask what you can do to help. Even if you only make a cup of coffee, you are helping... and you're learning something valuable about teamwork.
*When I start talking and I've given you a paper and a pen.. I'm expecting you to take notes!
*Be grateful for the experience. We don't owe you anything and you're in our way. If you show interest and gratitude, we're far more likely to take the time to make the experience useful for you.
*Do the boring jobs we give you at the beginning well. We'll be encouraged to give you less boring jobs.
*If the phone rings, answer it politely and take a message.
*If you see something needs doing, and you're sure you know how, then do it (if it's tidying or making more coffee, definitely do it)


jhack's picture

Perhaps some of us misunderstood your post; it seemed directed specifically at the Manager Tools hosts, and whether there were plans to have a future cast.

If you pose your questions to the larger community, you might get more responses, although the community isn't privy to any planned or upcoming podcasts.

In any case, welcome to the forums! This is a great resource for ideas and actions. Hope to see you here again...


mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge


I sent you a private message ... please take a look.

Best Regards,

EricGagnon's picture

Thanks Wendii for your advices. I'll definitely listen to theses podcasts pretty soon. :)

Jhack: You're right. At first, it was oriented directly to MT team. It was pretty stupid because lot of folks out there can help a lot, so I apologize. The question is now oriented to the whole community. Thanks for your feedback and I'll try to come back often, even though the fact that I'm starting my career so I won't be really helpful (I suppose).

Mauzenne: Reply sent. Thanks for the feedback!

rgbiv99's picture

I am a newer manager so let me share with you some of my friends' "happy hour" complaints regarding their interns. Do with this what you will.

• Showed up an hour late, no phone call.
• Took five days off in two months.
• Never, ever takes notes about what they’re saying and they have to explain things over and over again.
• Complains about the menial nature of the work.
• Reclusive, doesn’t talk to anyone.
• Does the job badly and doesn’t ask questions.
• Interrupts after they already told him/her that they’re busy.

My own personal favorite/most disturbing intern experience was in 2004 when I offered our intern an all-expenses-paid trip to the Democratic National Convention and she … wait for it … decided to go to a beer pong tournament instead.

EricGagnon's picture

That's a very funny story :)

I really appreciate your advices, even though some things seems pretty... obvious! Thanks!

I must admit that I have a hard time trying to establish connection with my co-workers. I'm working with marketing people (even though I'm a computer software writter) and they're all over 30 years old (most of them are over 45). I'm 19, so that's pretty hard to enter their's conversation (childrens, clients, big sales, car problems, home problems, ex-co-workers, ...
Do you have any advice for me?


rgbiv99's picture

You don't have to talk about children or houses. Just ask them how they're doing, how their weekends were, what projects they're working on ... even better, how you might be able to help with projects they're working on. Just be friendly. And smile. Did I mention smile?

bug_girl's picture

Treat your coworkers as an exotic tribe you are studying. You want to learn how they interact--and then mirror those behaviors.

Speaking as someone who has managed close to 100 interns now--the one consistent way to stand out is to have a great attitude, and approach everything as something to learn. Willingness to try new things and learn is something you will need your whole life.

The interns I remember and still recommend years later are the ones that always jumped at a task with an "OK! I'll do it!", even if it was cleaning the snake cage.  They could see that adding "care and feeding of snakes" would build their resume (or at least make a memorable bullet point :)

Part of an internship is developing future references--"How can I help"  or "Can you walk me through what you are doing?" when you have downtime is a great way to build that relationship.  (And at least all the poop you will be dealing with is metaphorical).


bug_girl's picture
cim44's picture
Training Badge

My best advice is to remember that colleagues will have first impressions of you (good or bad) that will last likely years - they can be very difficult to change... so best to make good ones!  And I echo bug_girl's advice!  I liked the bit about the exotic tribe, haha!