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Go Do Things: How to OWN THAT PROJECT as an Intern

You’re an incredible intern with super sick skills to utilize. You are definitely making progress with your internship, but maybe you are doing projects in which you don’t feel like you’re taking charge. You’re kind of just doing what the ‘ole boss person says and you’re gaining experience, but not to the level in which you would like.  You’re an intelligent, driven individual and you want to make the most of your internship.  Here are some steps to take to OWN THAT (dat) PROJECT:

1. Suggest it.

As I touched on in a previous post, you were hired for your potential, so show ‘em what you got! Take some initiative and suggest a project you think would benefit your company (and your professional development). In my case, I took on this blog post series, ‘From the Intern.’ Before I started it, I did like writing and knew that in my field, I should have this skill nailed down. Being able to write in a non-technical way that allows me to infuse my personality and humor enlightened me to how much I genuinely enjoy writing.

2. Now get goin’!

Now that you’ve suggested this neat, value-adding project, get moving on it! Don’t expect your boss to keep reminding you to do it or set deadlines for you. This is all up to you now, you employed adult! Set deadlines for yourself and make a schedule of when you should have parts of the project finished. If you’re able to keep up with your assigned projects in addition to the one that you took on yourself, it really says something about you being a super radical intern and crazy diligent worker. That’s the type of stuff that gets noticed by bosses and could land you a permanent job.

3. If you get stuck, ask for a hand.

People get writer’s block or creative clogs or other instances of stunted creativity when it comes to solo projects. It’s really normal and you should not discount yourself to being a bad employee that should quit and start making cat YouTube videos because your cat will not enjoy that… oh, and, you’re a wonderful employee! You just hit a little snag. So, do what the best of the best do: ask someone for help. Ask a boss, a friend, your mom, a coworker. What would they do in this situation? Are there any suggestions they would have on how to continue on with this project? Are there any good websites or other resources in which they know? You’ll get some great advice, suggestions, and resources that will keep you on track.

4. Get it done.

Now that you’re back on track and making progress, get yo’ project finished! Stick to your timeline, continue to ask for feedback and suggestions, and get it done. Don’t think that just because this is a project that you brought on yourself, you can drop it. Show your ambition and dedication! Even when it feels like you aren’t making progress, you have the tools and the people that can help you to continue the development of your idea.

5. Own it!

This is your first taste of owning a project. It sure as heck ain’t easy, and you will hit some speed bumps and roadblocks and whatever other obstacle metaphors there are. Perseverance pays off and in the end, you will have a great piece for your portfolio, but more importantly, the experience of taking a project from an inkling of an idea to a finished piece that is beneficial to your company, whether it be a new landing page or a new addition to the web app or a new blog series. Whatever it is, it is yours. Execute it to the best of your abilities and be proud of what you created.

This is just your first step of many. You have a whole career ahead of you to accomplish great things. Now go get to work!

  • Andrew Chan

    Great advice for young interns!

  • Murray Hewitt

    Fabulous tips! Thanks