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Ask for More as an Intern

Ask for More as an Intern

Peter Vogt/ Monster Senior Contributing Writer

November 03, 2009

You didn’t sign up for a several-month sentence at the copy machine, yet there you are at your internship, making copies for hours. And then you go home each day and gripe about it to anyone who will listen (or pretend to).

Why not do something about it? Seek out more challenging assignments –- the kind that will give you the skills you’ll really need in your future career.

Here’s how in three steps:

Master the Little Stuff First

How can anyone know you’re capable of doing more than sharpening pencils if you don’t first prove you can handle grunt work?

Your supervisors and colleagues won’t give you complex projects “if you can’t demonstrate your ability to learn from even the simplest tasks,” says Sue Leister, director of the internship program at Alverno College in Milwaukee.

Elizabeth Baker recently finished an editorial internship at Islands magazine. She began her stint with a classic intern task: Filing. “At first, that’s all they had me do,” says Baker, a sophomore at Scripps College in Claremont, California. “But I stayed extra hours to get projects done so that I could move into more challenging ones.”

Baker earned respect by putting in the extra time to do a good job on her assigned task. And with that respect came the opportunity for more responsibility. She advanced to writing an article for the magazine, as well as fact-checking and researching.