Resource Centre Job Search Advice How To Be The Best Intern and Leave a Lasting Impression

How To Be The Best Intern and Leave a Lasting Impression

be best intern

Getting that internship is a step closer to realising your potential in the job market. It’s essential that every intern understands what is expected of them every time they get selected for that internship position to enhance their academic understanding of the courses they pursue. You look for internships so you can have a better standing with people from the same course you studied for, right? You are obviously hoping for a job in the future. Getting your priorities right from the internship is a major way to establish a breakthrough in the job market.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a trainee given by an employer in their organization which seeks to expose the trainee to the workings of the business and to gain exposure in the industry. Most often, a  company hires undergraduates or college students so they can use their educational background to benefit the company for a certain period of time, whether paid or unpaid. However, there is also a chance for older individuals too in the internship field. For instance, someone thinking of changing careers can also intern at a company they aspire to work for as this can be a learning experience in the new career field.

So, how do you get to be the best intern in a company?

The following tips can help an intern to make a lasting impression on their boss and launch a career after completion.

Know About The Company

be best intern - do research

Just like any other job, you need to research about the company you will intern for. Are your skills relevant to that particular company? Understand how the company works, what they do and how your contribution is important towards achieving both your goals and their objectives. Learning about the company makes you look knowledgeable and more prepared for the task at hand.

Show Interest

Show that you are willing to learn through the internship process. This sets you apart from every other intern that you may have enrolled with at the same time. Once you show your supervisor that you can use your academic skills to obtain the results needed, while still being efficient at the task you have, you have already stood out from the crowd. Sometimes leaving a few minutes after work can make your supervisor feel that you are committed and not just trying counting the minutes. 

Find a Supportive Mentor

be best intern - get mentor

As a student transitioning to the job market, having someone to lead through the process is necessary towards achieving the necessary guidance. You may not understand all that happens in the employment sector, but someone from the company definitely does. Make an effort to reach out for necessary information and proper guidelines during your internship period.


Get to know the relevant people at your company and how your interactions with them can influence your career after the internship. It can be tempting to make connections with your fellow interns, especially if all of you joined at the same time and feel like you belong together. Well, that is good for your social being as an individual, but not for your career growth. Or is it? Reach out to people who can give you advice about what comes after the internship, and how to get through the process successfully.

Organize Yourself

be best intern - be organized

Make a list of your responsibilities as an intern and ensure you follow through with the work within the stipulated times. An intern who has his/her duties always done in time without constant follow-ups from the supervisor stands a better chance of getting a good recommendation, even long after you complete the internship. Who doesn’t fancy a planned job schedule with efficiently completed tasks?

Be Motivated To Do More

In today’s work environment, every employer wants to do more in little time. An intern with the ability to multitask increases his/her chances of getting positive recognition from their supervisors. Ask for more duties when you manage to finish the ones you had in ample time as the efficiency to do more is an element of a smart worker. Who wouldn’t want that? However, don’t do more and do an inefficient job, learn your strengths and build on them.

Treat Your Internships As Real Jobs

An internship is a step forward towards the formal job market and being able to blend into the workspace is just as important as knowing what to do with a real job. Do not “act like an intern”, consider yourself as part of the work team. After all, if you have already joined the company for the internship, you are part of the team. So, treat the internship as if it was your actual job and who knows, it might actually be in a couple of months!


be best intern

When you are able to learn faster than your fellow interns, you are on your way to achieving your own success as an intern. Being able to adapt to various situations, such as blending into the office culture, socialising with the rest of the team and asking for guidance on how to use certain things in the office, you are better equipped to understand much more than the rest of your laid-back colleagues. Learn to accept new ideas and corrections if need be.

Be a Good Time Manager

Understand your traffic patterns to work so you can always be in time for work and avoid the “traffic was bad” line to your supervisor every morning. You might be lucky for a day or two, but even the most patient of bosses gets tired of having to tell an intern that they are getting late for their duties. They will let you go after a while, and that’s not a really good impression, is it? While at work, learn to organize your work so you understand what you have to do and at what time you present it for reviews. If need be, extend a little after work so that you can finally complete that task your supervisor marked as ‘Urgent.’

Showcase Your Best Skills

An internship is how you get to put your theoretical knowledge into practice and therefore, an intern must always make sure that they try their best in all situations to incorporate that information into the duties they have. A supervisor is always impressed when an employee, or in this case, an intern can critically think and provide solutions without having to ask them first. They would rather give guidance than come up with ideas that you would also ideally have to come up with.

Therefore, aim to go the extra mile to impress the relevant people during your internship period. Give the best impression you can ever give and you would not be disappointed after your completion. Who knows, you might just get a confirmation for the job itself! Or a really good recommendation when you need it in the future right? When you are good at something, you increase your chances of getting positive recommendations to do it, and you know what else is the catch? You get paid for it!  So follow these tips and be the best intern ever!

Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.
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