In any size of internship program, there are often shining stars who get offered full-time positions with the company (or internships again next year). There are three things that all of these students have in common with each other that allow them to reach this level of success.
These students are always cooperative with upper-management adding on extra tasks to their daily work or projects, recognizing that to stand out, they have to be as fluid as the needs of the business at that moment in time. Sometimes, there’s little warning before there has to be a big pivot in priority (one project over another or just a whole different direction) and students that take this shift well, without complaint, are seen as adaptive and valuable. Adding value is always the main reason somebody gets hired, and internships are equally an opportunity for students to learn AND to prove their worth. These students are also cooperative with other interns and try to help others when they have the time or the skill to.
It’s true that some days are harder and worse than others. It’s also true that interns don’t necessarily have all of the skills that employers may expect them to when assigning projects or tasks. While it is better to spend a short time trying to figure something out on your own, it’s always appreciated to not waste too much company time when you just aren’t sure how to do something. If your confusion could be solved by a quick clarifying conversation with a manager, definitely send off a quick email requesting that before you turn in a deliverable which is not correct or what the manager had in mind. Additionally, keeping your personal life out of work is usually a smart idea, unless personal developments (such as family illnesses and emergencies) start impeding on your ability to do your job or do it well. In that case, most employers are very understanding and want to help you, but they can’t if they don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes, an intern who is really struggling may be written off as “lazy” or “underachieving,” and a conversation could prevent that misclassification.
With every job and activity in the world, there are more and less talented people. This can start off from having a natural inclination to something from a young age, but a large part of talent is practice and learning abilities. Being present during every part of your internship (from meetings to training sessions to bonding activities with other interns) helps build that talent and allows you to be better at your job. There may be interns at that internship with a better level of education, with more directly-related work experience, and with better natural abilities, but you could still do your work just as well, if not better, by paying attention and always working hard. The first two qualities on this list are important, but this last point is what gets people C-Suite jobs and what really distinguishes you, as an intern who’s just starting out or as a well-respected manager. “Finding new talent” is often how companies refer to hiring new employees, which increases the importance of the word and quality.