Being new in the workplace can be challenging at first. Here at Blue Cross NC, we asked our summer interns what advice they have for newbies joining the workforce and starting their first internships.
This seems scary, but it is very easy to do! While no one wants to feel like the dumb one in the room, “Someone else probably has the same question but is too scared to ask,” says Madison, our brand marketing communications intern. “Don’t be afraid to speak up!”
If there’s a project that you’re interested in, ask to be a part of it. Make suggestions at meetings. “Ask people around you if they need help,” says Zak, our IT operations support services intern. Be eager to contribute to your team and people will take notice.
Internships are all about connections and building professional relationships. “Try and meet as many people as you can,” says Cecilia, our enterprise business process solutions intern. “Set up meetings with higher-ups and ask questions about their career paths.” The connections that you make early in your career can provide great insight and help you further down the road.
Embrace the culture
When you start a new position with a new company everything can seem foreign. Participate in activities with your colleagues and other interns. “Make yourself feel comfortable,” says Fabiola, our finance accounting intern. “Try to open up so people can get to know you.” Really get a feel for the company as a whole and the culture.
This is super important! “Make sure you know what your boss expects from you because your understanding and their understanding could be very different,” says Jasina, our organizational transformation intern. Repeating back what someone asks of you is a great way to clarify what they want, while also getting more information about the task.
Go out of your comfort zone
Being young in the work place may already feel uncomfortable to most, but really try to push yourself. “The more uncomfortable you are, the more you will learn,” says Thomas, our IT solutions intern. This will be different for everyone. For me, it’s sharing my ideas in an unfamiliar group. For others, it could be giving a presentation. Whatever it is, try it and you will thank yourself later.
Internships are an incredible opportunity to get a taste of the working world. The hands-on experiences you get are invaluable, but ultimately they are what you make of them. Don’t rely on your program to shape every moment for you.
Regularly check-in with yourself and write down what you’re accomplishing and where you want to learn more before your time is up. Don’t wait until your last week to wonder what you could have done differently!
If you are interested in an internship at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, please visit our internship page.