So you’ve locked down that internship. Your perfect cover letter, resume and portfolio did the job and your interview couldn’t have gone better. The dream internship is finally in your lap and you are antsy to start.
Before you jump the gun and sell your soul to your new job, take a step back.
Because you’re an intern, you may think you have to do whatever is asked, without question. I beg to differ. I believe that you are a valuable asset to a team and your position is a vital role in the company. The healthy fear and respect you have toward your boss should be the same respect you have towards yourself.
Remember, this is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Consider this your wake-up call: you are valuable and you should treat yourself as such.
Yes, you’ll have to make coffee runs, copies and phone calls. But you shouldn’t be walked all over.
After many internships, I’ve learned a thing or two about communicating and setting boundaries with your boss.
Figure out your priorities. This is the best piece of advice I have for new interns. For many, this might be your first experience in a real-world work environment. If you aren’t careful, work will begin to take over your life. Use your time as an intern to figure out what your priorities are with your work and home life. If it’s important to keep your home-life separate, then do just that. Don’t bring your work home with you.
Speak up early. Obviously, there is a trial and error period with a new job. You may think you are okay with staying late at night at the beginning and then you might grow to realize that you actually want to be home by dinner. If you don’t speak up early, you will be staying late for the foreseeable future. As scary as it might seem, meeting with your supervisor and letting them know how things are going is a vital move you must make if you ever hope to enjoy your internship.
Know your worth. You are an asset. They gave you the position so they know that. If you have a great idea, say it. If you think something should be changed, offer that insight. You are never new enough to not say something important.
Ask Questions. Speak now or forever hold your peace. If you don’t ask early on, you’ll be expected to know. You’re new! Of course, you have questions. Ask them.
Say no. It might seem terrifying but there are certain times where things are simply not a part of your job description or you don’t have the training or experience necessary. You won’t lose your job over it. Treat yourself with respect and say no if necessary.
Your boss was an intern once, too.
Hannah Harris is a journalism major at Samford University, concentrating in Public Relations and Advertising. She is the marketing director for her sorority and owns a freelance photography business. She hopes to work in Influencer Public Relations when she graduates in 2021. Feel free to follow her on Instagram.