The HNI summer internship has come to an end. 12 glorious weeks have come and gone, and now it is time for a bit of intern reflection. I learned many lessons throughout this summer about the broad field that is marketing and feel I am better equipped to handle business and everyday problems in the “real-world.” For my final blog post, I narrowed it all down to the top ten lessons I learned from my internship. These ten basic, yet highly influential points, will help any intern have a successful summer!

1.       A change of scene works wonders

One of the best tips I can give is to move around the workplace. A desk is not a confinement cell, and whenever I had a serious mental block, I found it was alleviated by a strong dose of change. With a new environment comes a fresh perspective which is a boost for anyone’s productivity. Time seemed to fly by whenever I set up shop in a remote and quiet corner.

2.       The power of a “thank you”

During my internship I definitely learned how impactful a simple thank you can be. Showing appreciation goes a long way and in my experience, it showed my interest and respect. Throughout my projects, I knew the feedback I received was meant to help me grow. All interns should keep this in mind when accepting criticism because it is a great benefit to receive. Be thankful!

3.       Conciseness is a virtue 

Being concise is a skill. I had an opportunity to improve my conciseness this summer and learned to balance briefness with detail. Whether in writing or in verbal responses, I realized the importance of being concise.  Get to the point with communications because there is no need to waste valuable time or resources in over-explanation.

4.       No such thing as “sitting idle”

A tip I would offer to any intern is if you find yourself with some downtime, offer your assistance to someone. There is always so much going on in an office and people appreciate and notice a helping hand. In my experience, this showed my concern and involvement in the work of my team members. Everyone likes a team player!

5.       Introduce yourself

Getting to know my colleagues, department managers, and executive leaders was extremely beneficial. I learned this simple act pays dividends in the future. It improved my knowledge of HON by learning different roles and responsibilities and it familiarized myself with the leaders of the company. Putting a face to a name made the office seem less intimidating and could potentially open a door for me in the future.

6.       Mixing work with pleasure

Work can be fun and should be enjoyable. I learned joking and laughing with fellow colleagues and interns was a great way to build relationships and mutual respect. By doing so, I learned about individual personalities and work patterns which improved overall collaboration in the future.

7.       When in doubt, ask

At the beginning of my internship I was nervous to ask questions because I didn’t want to appear ignorant. However, I quickly realized asking questions was the best way to get quick answers. Asking questions is a sign of inquisitiveness and demonstrates a desire for accuracy. Clarification leads to completion and provides the best total value for any project. The need for questions doesn’t have an “awkward stage” we interns grow out of; even top executives do it!

8.       Lunch anyone?

Ask your colleagues to lunch. I found a lunch date is a great way to get out of the office and to get to know one another in an informal environment. It also is a great excuse for networking or pitching ideas. If anything, initiating a lunch group shows you want to be a part of the team you are working with.

9.       Professionalism isn’t just for dress codes

One of the main things I learned during my internship was that professionalism is not just about your appearance. Instead, it is primarily based off demeanor and actions. Carry yourself with confidence, respect the ideas of others, and enter every situation as an opportunity to demonstrate your capability and character.

10.   Be a sponge

In any job or internship, every situation is an opportunity to learn. You can never reach a learning quota. By absorbing all my surroundings, I learned about individual personalities, details of the company, and picked up on miniscule observations that indirectly taught me about “the way things are done.”

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