2016 Internship Guide V4

Be a Note Taker

My internship is not a college lecture, why should I be a note taker? 

Taking notes is not just reserved for undergrad education.  Taking notes is used to help you remember what is going on: due dates, questions you want to ask, etc.  You won’t remember everything that occurred in a meeting, especially if the meeting was a week ago, so write stuff down!

When should I take notes? 

As an intern, you should take notes as frequently as possible.  This will help you organize your thoughts and make sure you are comprehending the material that you are being asked to learn.  In every meeting you should be taking copious notes: writing down questions, action items, and other notes to make sure you remember important points from the meeting.  There will be times where you are in a meeting and your manager will ask you to send out a meeting recap.  This requires you to take notes so you don’t miss anything important.  It is always good to be overly prepared, so make sure to write down as much as you can to ensure your understanding of the meeting.

How should I use my notes after a meeting? 

Outside of using them to write a meeting recap, as mentioned above, notes should be used to further your understanding of the material.  As an intern, you are going to be put into an unfamiliar situation where you do not know the industry, lingo, and/or parties involved with getting your job done.  All of this can be daunting.  But by writing down your thoughts and questions in a meeting, you can then go back to your manager or mentor and have a discussion with them using your notes to guide you.  Not only will this help you better understand the material, but it will show your manager or mentor that you are paying attention and are invested in learning more about the topic.

As an undergrad, I take lots of notes - is taking notes in Corporate America any different? 

Not really.  They are your notes, after all, so use them in a way that works best for you.  As an undergrad, you take notes so you can reference them while studying for an exam.  In Corporate America, you take notes so you can understand the material.  The concept is very similar, except there isn’t a formal test in your internship.  So long as you are able to identify and write down the important pieces in your meeting to further your understanding, continue to take notes just as you would in undergrad classes.  

Be Someone with a Perspective

This seems obvious, why would that be a concern? 

A lot of times interns get comfortable with the fact that others will answer questions or share their opinions, which means they don’t need to do anything.  The worst thing you can do as an intern is sit in silence and not share your thoughts and perspectives.  On every single project, you have an opinion – you just need to voice it!

What if my perspective is wrong? 

This is impossible.  How can your perspective and opinion be wrong?  Your perspective is based on your experiences and view of the world, not necessarily based on fact or firm logic.  In no way can it be deemed “wrong.”  

What if someone disagrees with my perspective? 

That is a good thing!  That means you have sparked a conversation.  Add to the conversation further by providing additional perspective and backing up your thoughts with other information or facts.  Others will appreciate that you have done your research in addition to simply sharing your opinion.

I’m not comfortable sharing my perspective in a meeting, what should I do? 

You need to get over that irrational fear.  Your whole life, including undergrad, you have had a perspective on everything: favorite color, favorite season, which food tastes best, which design works better, etc.  All of those perspectives live inside of you already, it is just a matter of effectively articulating it in a meeting.  Being able to share and articulate your perspective will give others a glimpse into the way your brain works (which is extremely valuable) and the logic you put behind your thoughts.  One of the reasons companies hire interns is to get perspective that is not as close to the work at hand – so show your value and share your perspective!

Thanks for joining us for the 2016 Internship Guide.  We hope you found it valuable in starting off your summer internship.  Let us know how you used these tips throughout the summer.  Good luck!