You Got Your Internship, Now What

There is often more emphasis placed on getting the internship of your dreams than is placed on the doing part of the internship. You know what I mean? People always get worked up in the actual application process.

BTW if you need help getting an internship send me a note :) jordangonen1@gmail.com

Applicants like to talk about their past without having to talk about what they will do in the future. And even then, talk is just talk — results are what really matters. Don’t get me wrong getting an internship is hard. But is what you do after that counts. No one will remember how good of an applicant you were if you failed to deliver during your “term” there.

So when I entered my internship this summer, I came in with really clear goals and an actionable plan for achieving those goals. Because I did not want to be one of those “oh yeah he was a nice kid” type of interns. I want to be the intern that the company cannot afford to lose after the summer. At least that is my mindset going in. Of course, that is really cocky and ignorant — who am I to be that valuable? Probably also true. But it does not hurt to think this way, if it will give you better results.

In the very beginning of my internship this summer, I sat with the person “overseeing” my work and we went over goals (OKRs: Objective and Key Results). Every week I review those goals and make sure that every single thing I am doing is, in one way or another, working towards those goals. These OKRs are not just for professional development, but also for personal development — things that will help me grow on all scales. Here are some of the general themes that you can take from my objectives…These are overarching ideas that best describe my goals.

The first being, perhaps the main goal:

Add as much value as I can. Period.

What that means to me is to do literally whatever it takes to help the company. If that means learning new things that I am not exactly comfortable with or doing things that seem stupid — if it will help the company I am there for them. I wake up earlier. I get to the office early. I stay late. I skip lunches. Whatever it takes to do my job and more is what I will do. (Not that all of these usually happen, I love lunch :) ).

Why would I do such a thing? Seems, a bit, irrational to do all of this extra work. After all, I am just an intern? Here is the key insight you need to have as an intern:

This is the one opportunity you may have in your life to spend 2/3 months with little risk involved and gain allies on your team. You will never not be judged for messing up. And you will never again be rewarded for trying.

The truth is that hard work does not go unnoticed. And as an intern, you want to be noticed. You want to be remembered (hopefully for something good). You literally want to do anything and everything you can to stick in someone’s mind.

Which brings me to my second point…While interning — I want to meet as many people as I can. And hopefully, with enough hard work, meet people that will vouch for me in the future.

So I made it one of my objectives to get lunch with at least one new person a week from within the company. This will be a great way to engage in conversation and learn more about people’s pasts and what they are looking for in the future. Also, it will help me work better and improve my team communication skills!

Now the last thing I am optimizing for this summer is learning — which means I do not want to leave the summer only having completed my work — AKA the barebones.

I want to learn so so much. And to do that I have to be methodical. To do that I have to be extremely straightforward with upper management and extremely transparent with my goals.

Because other employees are not sitting around brainstorming ways for me to learn. They are busy running a freaking company. So it is on me and my personal initiative to set up extra meetings, talk to people in other departments and work at the things I want to grow.

That is how you optimize for learning — pushing your number of “asks” to the limit and always looking to challenge yourself.

I really hope people take these ideas seriously and apply them to your work in an internship or whatever capacity. Go out and do something big and people will not forget!.

Forward this to someone with an internship !

Woah. You read the whole thing! Thank you so much. I’d really appreciate if you shared this with a friend!

Let’s continue this conversation

twitter — @jrdngonen

email — jordangonen@wustl.edu

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think for yourself. https://gonen.blog/ views mine.

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