It’s important you show initiative as an intern. So I’m going to tell you all about #initiativemuscle. If you are reading this and find yourself asking what the heck is initiative muscle, check it out over here and scroll to about mid-page.
In short, initiative muscle is what you need to build up in order to start taking action and making smart moves for your future. There are many different ways you can build this muscle, but the key is to take action consistently so it becomes second nature to you. The more you use your initiative muscle, the more confidence you have to use it again…and again.
So what are some actual examples of initiative muscle moments that you can work into your routine?
Asking for references (or recommendations on LinkedIn)
It’s not always easy asking someone to do you a favor, but if you left a positive impression with your former boss, colleague, coach, teacher, etc., then they will likely be more than willing to act as your reference.
Make sure you give them some context for what you are applying for so they can help speak to specific strengths. It’s OK to guide them here, they’ll appreciate it.
I give you tips and templates for how to do this on LinkedIn in my free five-day course. You can sign up in the right sidebar. >>
Networking and the informational interview
Meet someone at an event that works in the industry you’re interested in? Find an alumni that is at the company you hope to intern at next summer? Well, it’s time to reach out and ask them to coffee. (Or a Skype video call if you’re not in the same place.)
Come prepared with questions. Cannot stress this enough. This is your opportunity to seek advice on your desired career path, learn about a company and make a good impression.
A couple pro tips: Always ask them questions about themselves to get the conversation going and always have a call to action before you wrap up. This could be as simple as asking if they have any recommendations for other people you could speak to.
Finally, do not forget the follow-up and the thank you.
Create opportunities at your internship
The worst thing you can do is sit around at your internship checking your Instagram while waiting for someone to tell you what to work on. And I hate to break it to you, but not every company is going to have a super organized internship program for you to slide right into. If you don’t have clear projects laid out for you by your supervisor, create them.
Get to know people in the office and find out what they are working on, perhaps there is a research project you can help someone with. Or, check your supervisor’s calendar for big upcoming meetings and then type up an executive summary on the people they are meeting with, the company and it’s latest news. Everyone likes going in prepared for a meeting, so I say help them to do just that.
These unexpected, but professional acts will go a long way. Plus you’ll learn a lot more getting creative on the job than you will from whatever meme you’re creating on Instagram. After all, you worked hard to get the internship, don’t waste it.
So there you go. Some quick, easy to implement actions. Get after it!
Re: My photo at the top of this post. I’m going to pump…you up with initiative muscle. You’re likely too young to know this SNL skit with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it’s a classic. You’re more likely to have seen this commercial with Aaron Rodgers. Either way, this concludes my entertainment portion of the post.