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Top 10 tips for interning at a startup

Interning at a startup can be a dream for many entering the workforce or working on their degree, but most squander the opportunity by missing out on several key steps that benefit them and the company.

Summer interns at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; photo courtesy of NASA Goddard/Bill Hrybyk.


Summer interns at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; photo courtesy of NASA Goddard/Bill Hrybyk.

Making the most out of your internship

Many modern professionals have one thing in common on their resume—being an intern. Every professional has to start somewhere, and interning is usually one of the best first steps you can make to further your career. However, simply interning isn’t enough to boost your career all on its own. You have to put forth ample effort and perhaps even take full advantage of all your many opportunities.

The Levo League created a six-step guide for those interning with a startup business. Their list includes:
1. Act like the owner by giving your all.
2. Make an impact in your department.
3. Network with coworkers.
4. Ask Questions.
5. Take initiative.
6. Take time to get to know the CEO.
While these are all fantastic ideas to create a place for you in any industry, we’d like to add a few more to the list.

Tip 7: communication

7. Communicate like a pro – Some of the best professionals use many methods to communicate with clients, coworkers, or business partners. They may use email, physical mail, social networking, or phone calls. Just because you may only text your friends and family members doesn’t mean you should be unreliable by phone. Create good communication habits that will translate and merge into your professional life. That doesn’t mean you have to answer every call that comes through, but it does mean you should return calls promptly and be prepared.

Tip 8: behavior

8. Don’t be shy – It’s easy to feel intimidated in a professional setting, especially if you’re new to the industry. But don’t let it hold you back. If you have ideas that could benefit the company, find the right person or department and share those ideas. Your ideas and thoughts have value, no matter if you’re an intern or the CEO. And chances are, others will see that, too.

Tip 9: ask for it

9. Ask for a Recommendation – At the close of your internship, don’t hesitate to ask for a letter of recommendation. You worked hard and that recommendation can really help you out as your professional life progresses, especially if it’s from the CEO.

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Tip 10: connectivity

10. Stay connected – No matter if your internship is for only a few months or even as long as a year or more, it’s important and beneficial to stay connected with the company afterward and all those with whom you worked. You never know when those connections will come in handy somewhere down the road. Even if you know you’ll never work in that particular industry again, those connections and professional relationships may be just what you need five years from now. Not retaining those connections will ultimately be a great disservice to you and your professional goals.

Written By

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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