DNASTAR frequently hires interns in a variety of departments, including marketing, quality assurance and software development. Here, our Marketing Intern, Ellie Thomas shares her thoughts on the most valuable lessons for interns.
- Keep your eyes open: If this is your first experience in a business setting, you can learn plenty through observation. What do people accomplish independently, and in teams? Who handles certain tasks? If you’ve had many jobs, this is a great time to compare; look at how companies can operate differently, and most importantly, decide which style you prefer. This is also the time to look around outside of your department. Are you happy with your task at hand? Perhaps you’re in sales, but would rather be in marketing. Internships provide a perfect opportunity to experience many work settings, and decide where you fit in.
- Learn about work dynamic: Each office and workspace has a certain dynamic. Strong, lasting friendships can form, and each relationship is unique. It takes time to form relationships with your co-workers, and it’s OK to feel like the “new guy”. When you begin your internship, take this opportunity to observe how your co-workers interact, both in meetings and in casual conversation. Once you have gotten to know your coworkers, you can use their experiences and projects to expose yourself to situations you might not encounter in school or your daily life. You will expand your horizons, and learn a great deal about what works and doesn’t work in a professional setting.
- Learn from your mistakes: Internships are about learning and experience. You are new and you’re not perfect. Don’t be sloppy, but accept that you will make mistakes now and then. Use this opportunity to learn from your own experience as well as that of your co-workers. Pinpoint what went wrong, learn how to do it right, and then move on, confident that you will be better tomorrow. Use your mistakes to grow.
- Don’t act like an intern: Don’t act like an intern, and you won’t be treated like one. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation in the break room. Make friends and let them help you. Be the one to say “I can do that!” You may start off with small, easy, “intern” tasks, but if you prove you can handle bigger projects and responsibilities, you’ll be given a larger role, and you will gain a lot of respect. Prove yourself along the way; learn how to be an excellent worker and make connections to help you move forward in your career. You are an intern, but you are still an employee with every opportunity to be heard, make a difference, and help out.
- Apply what you’re learning in school: If you are a student, you have the unique opportunity to apply what you are learning in school directly to the workplace. As a student, you often have access to the latest ideas and research in your field. Even if your area of study is different than the industry in which you are interning, your recent education may give you a unique perspective on things. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you have something to add or a new idea to suggest. Your coworkers will likely appreciate your input, and you will benefit both professionally and academically.
- Try everything: You’re free to change and grow, and that’s exactly what you should be doing. Take your internship seriously, and use the experience to learn what you like and dislike. Be flexible and try everything. You just might discover your next passion (or something you hate) and will be better off knowing exactly what you want as you take your next step toward your career. Enjoy yourself- find what makes you happy in a workplace and chase it.
Interested in an internship at DNASTAR? Visit our careers page to learn more about current openings!