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Ask the intern: No one notices me at my internship

“Hi Fiona, I’ve been reading your blog, and I thought you might be able to help me with something. I feel like no one notices me at work. I turn up every day and I do my work but I do feel a bit like I’m invisible to my colleagues. My supervisor of course is really great, but he’s so busy. I really don’t see him a huge amount. I was hoping you maybe had some advice on how to make myself stand out at work. How do you get noticed as an intern?” – Ben

Hi Ben, thanks for reaching out to me! As an intern, trying to be noticed and become an integral part of a team can be difficult. Sometimes it can be a bit nerve-wracking to put yourself out there. What I would say is that I am sure you are noticed more than you may think. Saying this, there are things that you can do to make yourself stand out in a positive way. Here are my five top tips for getting noticed at your internship.

1. Stand out because of your work

Above all, this would be the best advice I can give you. Make your colleagues notice you because of how great you are at your work. Maybe you’re incredibly efficient at everyday tasks? Maybe you go above and beyond on any presentation or report that you need to create? There are always ways to take your work to the next level, and this will make your colleagues notice you.

A good way to go about this is every time that you finish a task, take a second to have a quick look over it and ask yourself, “how could I make this better?”. This will allow you to not only impress your colleagues but push yourself to be better and take on personal challenges. If you are unsure of how to improve it, why not ask for feedback? Go to your supervisor and ask them how you could improve your work, and explain that you want it to be the best it can be. I can almost guarantee that they will appreciate your enthusiasm and your drive for excellence.

No one notices me

2. Ask lots of questions

Ok, so I think this needs to come with a bit of clarification. It has been said that there is no such thing as a stupid question, and maybe this is true. But there are unnecessary questions, or irrelevant questions. You want to seem keen and enthusiastic but you don’t want to seem completely clueless. Before you ask a question, think it all the way through. Make sure that it is something worthwhile.

Having said this, questions are a great way to show your interest and allow yourself to be seen in a positive light. If you ask the right questions, your co-workers will see you as keen, interested and engaged in what is going on with the business. You may even be able to highlight to them an area that they can work on.

3. Be personable

A smile can get you a long way. Making sure that you are friendly and personable around the office will allow you to seem approachable and fun. Do not underestimate the power of a friendly conversation with a colleague. Taking the time to show an interest in someone’s life, asking them about their weekend, for example, can make a huge difference. Of course, not when they are buried under work. But, once you have started that line of conversation, you can build a friendship, which then will lead to other friendships. This will allow you to feel really involved in the office and feel like a true member of the team.

No one notices me

4. Get involved

I cannot emphasise this enough. Getting involved is the pathway to getting noticed. It will allow you to build those friendships, and will probably be quite fun. If someone offers you the opportunity to take part in a project, take it. If someone asks you if you want to grab lunch, or a coffee, say yes. These are great opportunities to really be an asset to the team or to solidify friendships.

If you are feeling really brave, why not go up and ask someone who seems nice if they want to go for lunch? It’s highly likely that they will say yes. If they don’t, you really haven’t lost anything. Try again tomorrow. You can do the same with your work. If you have finished everything you need to do and your supervisor says it’s OK, why not see if anyone else in the office needs some help? It’s great to seem friendly and helpful. It will allow you to really stand out.

5. Do things that boost your confidence

Some of these things can feel a bit scary. A big part of feeling like no one notices you is confidence. Having the confidence to really throw yourself out there can be a big challenge. My advice would therefore be, do things that boost your confidence. Maybe this is something as simple as wearing clothes that you feel good in. Make sure that you are organized and prepared for the day. Coming into work five minutes early. Try doing your favorite form of exercise before or after work. Anything that will make you think more positively. When you think positively, you will act positively, and therefore in turn be seen positively.


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Photo 1. based on Sad Mumby, by angela n., CC BY 2.0

Image 2. based on working, by Katy Warner, CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo 3. based on Conversations, by Sagar, CC BY 2.0

Photos and blog by Fiona Johnson

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!