Intern Help Guide Week 7: Interning FAQs ❓

A couple of weeks ago, I asked on my social media (@tkhoub + @isanyonereallylistening) what burning questions people had about internships. I wanted to take the time to answer them in this intern help guide week 7 that I think would benefit you guys through into your internship.

I am a few weeks off on this series because my internship has been super demanding, I’ve been moving, and just a lot has been happening in my personal life. Also, I did a complete rebranding. A post on that is coming very shortly.

If you are new to this series on my blog, hello and welcome. I curated this intern help guide to help anyone going through an internship right now. This is made by an intern for other interns. I have interned in the fin-tech, start-up, and corporate space for the past few years.

Below you will find some of my previous posts about my internship experience. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Intern Help Guide Week 6: Networking 

Intern Help Guide Week 5 👩🏽‍💻 Soft Skills They Don’t Tell You About

Intern Help Guide Week 4 🤷🏽‍♀️ Is a “work-life balance” achievable?

Intern Help Guide Week 2-3 ⚡️ Things Get Easier

“When should people start looking and applying to internships?”

I’m not a recruiter or hiring manager so every company looks different. Most companies like to start their hiring process EARLY, like, August early. I typically start looking for 10-15 companies I am interested in learning more about a week into my school semester. I have applied to companies who don’t start looking to hire interns until January. But a good time frame to start is August-October. Decisions usually get sent out before or during the holidays. Look for internships based on the role, not the company itself. There are amazing companies out there that may not be the right fit for you. You want to consider the role, the company’s culture/mission, the location, compensation. Have an idea of a role then look at different companies that provide that. It may be the big names or it may not be. Don’t limit yourself because it’s all about getting that real-world experience.

“What is the best way to stand out in an internship?”

Come into your internship ready to learn and grow. Showing genuine interest in your team and work will really help you stand out. Being curious to learn new things, meet new people, and networking with other people in the company shows your passion for the work that you’re doing. Not every aspect of the role is going to be fun. That’s true with anything. You won’t like every class but it’s important to keep in mind that you are here for 10-12 weeks. Make a lasting impression. Be present, be adaptable, and be teachable. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. You are in a professional environment but you can still be an individual. You come to the table with a fresh set of eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re lost.

“What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an intern?”

I think one of the things I have been struggling with is feeling like I have to know it all. I don’t want to look dumb or incapable of doing something but there is a lot of new stuff that I know nothing about. There are some expectations your managers have but they do not expect you to know everything right off the bat. Knowing that you will make mistakes and are there to learn has really helped me ground myself. Be open to learning new things. I faced an imposter syndrome too. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be here and that someone else who is smarter or goes to an Ivy league school deserves this more than I do. I had to take a second to identify what I can add. But remember, you are there for a reason. There’s a reason they picked you and be appreciative of every learning moment you get to experience.  You deserve to be in this role and you are doing great.

“I did an internship. Now what?”

To be completely honest this is what I think about a lot. Take time to reflect on the entire experience. What did you learn from this? How did you grow? What did it teach you? and thinking about how you can apply it back to your role as a student or in your next job? You learn about what you like and don’t like about role as you go through the entire experience. Figure out if you see yourself working in that company or a similar role. Apply that awareness when looking at next internships or opportunities. After your internship, maintain contact with some of the people that really stuck out to you. Connect with them on LinkedIn so you know where they’re going and they can see you too

“How do I remain productive when things get boring?” 

Like I said above, you won’t always love what you do. But take every opportunity (yes, even the boring ones) as a chance to learn something. You’re there for a limited time so tough it out. If you consistently aren’t given work you are excited about, have a conversation with your manager of some of the expectations you had going into the internship and some of the areas you want to explore. I’ve been given work where I had to pull data from jumbled up files. It was super tedious, boring, and frustrating but it’s apart of the job. With any role or task, there will be things you won’t enjoy. You’re an intern so you’ll be given “intern” work. People will send you stuff that seems boring or useless but do the work the best way you know how to. If you already have a lot on your plate be honest and say something like “Thank you for considering me for this task, however, I am working on x, y, and z and I need to finish this first”. Learning how to manage your time effectively will help balance your work.

I hope you found this interesting. I will be going on Instagram Live very soon to talk more about these questions and answer any others that you may have.

Intern Help Guide Week 1 💪🏽 How To Get The Most Out Of Your Internship

This new series on my blog is going to share some helpful insights into making the most out of your internship experience. Internships are an amazing opportunity for you to get real-world, hands-on experience in the area you’re studying or interested to study. They are also considered your 10-week interview for the company you’re working for. It’s the company’s way of seeing if you’d make a good fit and also for you to see if you’d want to work there. Companies typically will send an offer to come back or a full-time job within 2-6 weeks after your internship is over but every organization is different. I am going to start this series on my blog to share my insights on my internship. These insights do not include any sensitive company information and only reflect my opinions, observations, and insights.

I’ve had 3 internships so far and a handful of other jobs so I’m pulling in insight from those experiences as well. I’ve worked in fin-tech/the financial services, consulting, and technology but my understanding of internships can be applied to any industry.

Week 1 Guide: Tips and Tricks to Master Your Internship 

Internships can be overwhelming. You walk in not knowing anything, not knowing anyone, and will probably get lost. It’s like the adult version of the first day of school. But congrats if you secured a solid internship! This is huge and important so congrats. Keep in mind everyone’s experiences are different so my advice and insight is intended to help you. If you have anything that I may have missed, comment down below I’d love to hear from you.

Whether this is your very first internship or you’re an intern pro, there’s always room to grow and learn more.

  • For the first few weeks, be a sponge. Absorb as much as you can and LISTEN.
  • You won’t know everything and that’s okay. Honestly, you won’t know anything but again that’s perfectly okay because no one expects you to know everything.
  • Dress professionally but comfortably. I made the mistake this week to break in new heels on my first real day of work. My feet are still screaming. You want to make a good impression and dress presentable but be practical. I wear slides to work and put my heels on in the car. Being comfortable will make you feel better and make you look a lot more presentable. Even if your team is a bit more lax, dress business casual.
  • Bring a notepad or journal with you everywhere. If you hear something you don’t know, jot it down and ask the question later. Keep track of your tasks, people on your team, take notes, etc. It’s great to have and taking notes helps keep you engaged.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t know, ask. But keep in mind people are super busy but are willing to help you. Use Google to your advantage. Most internship programs will have a mentor system so you can always reach out to your mentor to ask the “how”/”what” questions.
  • Finding a routine that works for you can be hard. Waking up at 6 am, working a whole 8-hour shift, working out, meal prep, social life, self-care, all of that will somehow need to fit into a 24-hour timeframe. If you go from staying up late and waking up at 10 am like I did, you are in for a rude awakening. It’s going to take awhile to get used to a routine that makes sense for YOU. Some of my fellow interns can wake up super early and workout, good for them but I can’t. I’m sure I could but I don’t want to. I like my sleep. But be patient and try to figure out what looks the best for you. Be flexible and be open to adjusting. It’s not going to be easy at first but it’ll click within the first 1-2 weeks.
  • Schedule 1:1’s with your manager every two weeks. Feedback is super important and if you’re in a 10-week internship it’ll go by fast. You want to set up times with your boss or whoever can accurately give you feedback on your performance. This will help the learning experience and also gives you a chance to build a relationship with the people you work with.
  • Shadow someone on your team that does what you might be working on. Sit with them for an hour or two (if they are willing or have time) and be like “hey, I was wondering if I can see how you organize or what things you use” or “Hey I’m interested in learning more about x,y, and z. Can I shadow you for an hour to learn more about it?”
  • When you get home and a topic/concept is confusing, do some research. You shouldn’t expect the company you’re working for to teach you everything. You want to do as much research on your own to be prepared. Google, UDemy, Youtube have a bunch of free resources for you to dive into and get a good understanding of things that you might be confused about.
  • If you’re overwhelmed– trust me, everyone else is too. You’re not alone. Everything is new and new can be intimidating. Lean into what you don’t know and be honest with yourself. It’s okay if you don’t know something, you aren’t expected to. You’re new to the job. People are a lot more understanding than you think.
  • Use every opportunity that may be intimidating as an opportunity to learn something new. Be invested in the 10 weeks you’re there. You might be at this company for only a short amount of time so use their resources as much as possible to enrich your professional life.

These are some of the things to keep in mind as you start your new internship. Again, congrats! This is a big deal and you should be really proud of yourself. Companies see THOUSANDS of applicants and YOU got chosen. Use your time as best as you can and don’t be too pressured to know everything. You won’t and that’s okay. You’re there to learn. It’s a learning-ship. LOL I tried.

I will be sharing my insights every week so keep coming back. We can go through this together 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽