Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tips for the Overwhelmed Intern

I started my first internship last week at The Franklin Institute as their summer development events intern. Although it has only been a week I am already having an amazing time learning an invaluable amount of knowledge and skills. As a first time intern, all of the new assignments and tasks can get a little overwhelming and learning how to organize and prioritize all of them can get a little stressful. In order to help myself become more efficient with my organization, I consulted a great article on Intern Coach that lists some great suggestions for interns to manage your time effectively.

  • At the end of every day, make a list of the next day’s assignments, arranging them in order from most important to least important. If you’re not sure, ask your intern manager to help you prioritize your responsibilities.
  • Check to see if your assignments are the same ones that were in the description for the internship. If you see lots of new additions, it’s perfectly fine to question them. Don’t feel shy about asking for advice. Remember, people like to be asked for help because it makes them feel important.
  • After you organize your list, allot a specific amount of time to each item. Note deadlines when necessary. Make sure that you do the top items to the best of your ability. You can probably do the least important items quickly. If you run out of time to complete the list, you could shift the bottom items to the next day.
  • Make sure to get to your internship early every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes before the rest of the office. You’ll make a great first impression, which is the lasting impression. People will automatically expect that you’ll do an excellent job since you’re so enthusiastic that you even arrive early. Then, if you don’t get everything done, it won’t be a disaster because you’ve already established yourself as a thoroughly competent person.
  • Maintain a positive attitude even if you feel frantic about the pile of work on your desk. However, it’s acceptable to sit down and talk with the intern manager, explain the overload, and ask if some items could be deleted from the assignment list. Emphasize that your priority is to do to a really good job. But with so many assignments, your work could be compromised.
  • Take advantage of your many assignments as a way to prove that you have multiple skills. You’ll be more valuable to the company
What do you think about these tips? Do you have any suggestions of your own? Let us know!

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