Whether it’s in-person or virtual, an internship is only as good as you make it. Of course, the company, your manager, and workplace culture will affect your experience—but at the end of the day you’ll get out what you put in. It’s not uncommon for a manager to be unsure of how to create an internship experience that balances mentorship and exposure with an appropriate workload for an intern to sink their teeth into. So if you find yourself getting bored on the clock, don’t reach for your phone or start scrolling through Twitter—try these instead.
Ask your supervisor. The first place you should always go for more work is your direct supervisor. If you’re at the office pop by their desk or send them a message saying you’ve completed the last task and you’re ready for more work. If they don’t have anything ready for you, ask if there is anyone else in the office you should ask.
Innovate. After you’ve asked around for more work, think about anything you’ve noticed that could be improved. I don’t mean huge high-level projects, but maybe that daily news round-up you send to the team could be streamlined, or the intern Google Drive could be organized. Find a way to leave your team better than you found it. But always check with your manager before making any permanent changes.
Read everything you can. Stay up to date on industry news and any updates within your company. When you have downtime, read articles that will keep you sharp and well-informed. You can also go through any documents you have access to that may give you further insight into how your team works.
Raise your hand for every task, even if it seems boring. Show your team that you are eager to help in any way. When you’re in that weekly meeting and there is an ask for someone to take on a task—always offer your help. You’ll get a lot more work this way and people will see you’re up for all kinds of projects.
Your efforts to gain more experience and be helpful to your team or company will not go unnoticed. You’ll leave a positive impression and you’ll end up learning so much more than if you had waited for the tasks to come your way.