While all interns can be useful to your company, it takes a great intern to be an invaluable resource.
You come in early, you're the last to leave and stay up till late to do everything to prove your worth at a new job. But do you know what qualities set apart the great interns from the rest?
It has a lot to do with two words: emotional intelligence - that is your ability to recognise your own as well as other people's emotions and your ability to apply these skills to your everyday work life. So you know you're a great intern when...
...you are not after instant gratification
A great intern always strives to work beyond the boundaries of what they are hired to do. They are never ones to say “that is out of my job description”. They are not intimated by new challenges nor do they feel entitled to anything. They know that if in the beginning they put in the work, in the end they will receive the recognition and compensation.
...you are courageous
A great intern is not afraid to speak up when others are; whether you want to ask a seemingly simple question or you want to challenge an executive decision, if you can speak your mind, you best believe you're a keeper. However, you always know to think before you speak. In other words, you can balance your bravery with common sense and timing.
...you know there is always room for improvement
Complacency and laziness are never part of a great intern’s work life. You have an unshakable belief that things can be improved, and you know what? You're right. You know that there’s never such a thing as good enough, when it comes to your personal growth. Even when things are going well, you are motivated to keep on going. Great interns apply this belief to their professional lives too. With you, there is always a way to improve the way one or the other system works.
...you are responsible
Speak to any manager and they will tell you that one phrase they hate to hear is “it’s not my fault”. These words do not exist in a great intern’s vocabulary. You are accountable for everything you do, whether the results are good or bad. And when something does go wrong, you make sure that their mistakes are brought to management’s attention rather than crossing your fingers and hoping that no one finds out.
...you are marketable
While marketable can mean many things to many people, in the work environment it means that internally, great interns have an aura that gives off positive vibes to those they work with, and makes them likeable. Externally, it means management can trust that you will represent the company well. Your manager knows she will be able to send out to meet with clients without worrying about what you will say.
...you can handle conflict
You neither seek to start any squabbles nor do you run away from them either. Great interns can maintain their composure and keep their cool when bringing across their positions. They stand firm against any personal attacks and you never use tactic yourself.
In closing, there’s no greater feeling for a manager when they know that they've scored themselves the best of the best, and you're responsible for proving this. On the other hand, your manager needs to ensure they live up to their responsibility too, and help you stay on top of your game.