Blog Archive

Friday, February 24, 2012

Succeeding as an Intern

Written by Valerie Koufidakis
Tax Intern
Boston, MA

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am in the midst of my third internship in three years. In that time, I’ve picked up on some tips that have allowed me great success in my jobs. I wanted to share and hopefully you will find them helpful as well!

Act like a professional…
…..not a lazy intern! At my last internship, someone in the office mistook me as a full-time staff associate, and needless to say, I was flattered! Interns in general can get a bad rep, and people might think we can’t handle complicated work. I am on a personal mission to prove all of these people wrong! In addition to obvious advice such as showing up on time and dressing well, I think a lot of “acting like a professional” is in the way you carry yourself.
When working with somebody in the office, I try to maintain a professional demeanor in person as well as through e-mails and phone calls. Whenever I am meeting someone for the first time, I always have a big smile and an extended hand. These small behavioral actions demonstrate my desire to succeed, as well as my enthusiasm for the job. Even when I am assigned tedious office work (ohhh, scanning!), I take it on with a smile. I’m grateful for any work that people give me, because it shows they trust me. I don’t want to ruin that trust by complaining!

Put yourself out there.
This week, the tax department at the Boston office held their “2nd Annual Office Putting Contest.” An ode to the McGladrey Classic I suppose, but also a great way to meet people in the office in a fun and informal setting. The contest was complete with multiple courses set up in and around cubes and offices, an official bracket established, and pizza and drinks provided for those waiting to putt. I was hesitant to even attend, as most people I knew in the office were not going, but of course I went and had a great time! I didn’t make it past the second round (not that I had high expectations), but in all of the time that I wasn’t playing I was making great connections with my coworkers.

At a large office like ours, chances are you’ll never even work directly with everyone in the tax department.  When you know people though, there is a good chance they’ll come to you with work. As an intern, this is great for me, as I want to get as much exposure to different aspects of tax while I can. So while going to this event was a tad awkward in the beginning, once I got to talking with people, I really enjoyed myself.  And now that I’ve met a few more coworkers, I feel much more comfortable going to them for help when I need it around the office.

Find ways to keep busy.
Have you ever heard the famous quote “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean” by Ray Kroc? While the work at McGladrey is a bit different than what I expect a McDonald’s employee might have to deal with, I think the same mindset applies. The best employees are always looking for work, and can always seem to find it better than others.

The best career advice I’ve ever received was from my grandfather, who essentially told me that there should never be a time when you claim that there is nothing to do at your job. There is ALWAYS something productive that you can be doing, and this has helped me tremendously at every job I’ve held. The past few weeks have been pretty slow in the office, but in that time I’ve organized and reviewed my training materials, cleaned out my desk, and kept busy reading up on current tax news. I also stay in frequent contact with the office schedulers, constantly asking if there is anything I can assist with. When you are taking the initiative and improving yourself as an employee, it does not go unnoticed, and it can set you up for a strong future career.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Please share!


CBame13 said...

Treat every day like an interview.

Nora Rose said...

Definitely agree with staying in touch with office schedulers! It's a great way to get work and be helpful!

kouf said...

When faced with a nerveracking situation, imagine the worst that could happen..,you'll probably find the true outcome is not that bad! Great info Valerie...