How to Impress Your Boss at Your Internship

Do you want to impress your boss? Being an intern can be one of the most confusing phases of your education journey. A successful internship is a critical aspect of education.

Depending on how it goes, your future could be laid out in front of you in the company of your dreams. But the reverse is also possible if you do not master the art and science of impressing your boss, his boss, and everyone at the company. Yes, you read that right—everyone at the company.

So, if you are about to take an internship and wondering how to impress your boss, know that it starts with you, not your boss, your school or anyone else.

You want to take control of your internship to get the best out of it. The truth about an internship and impressing your boss is that it doesn’t matter if you intend to work there after the internship. It is about you and just how much experience, skills and reputation you can build.

Interns are often observed by their bosses and almost everyone at the company. That many eyes on you may not be something you notice, but they do see what you do. Depending on your attitude, that may be good or bad (hopefully good!). Another truth is that the work assigned to you as an intern will most likely be inconsequential to the company’s business objectives.

Regardless of the work you are given, you want to take the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper. He should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” – Dr Martin Luther King.

10 Tips To Impress Your Boss at Your Internship

1. The rules are simple!

Internships can be uncomfortable for first-timers. Even so for some who have already had internships. This is often caused by your thinking that there are some rules to follow. You may not have the pleasure of being told what to do but know that the rules are no different. But simple. Show up on time, leave late, do work you and your parents will proud of, communicate with people and form relationships, stay away from internal politics, and never gossip. These are about the best rules out there. The rest is for exploring and discovering how much value you can add to the organization.

2. Exude Enthusiasm

No one loves a downer. Being an intern means sometimes doing work for people other than your boss. Your activity in and around the company should show a certain level of Enthusiasm for the company, its problems, and the solutions to those problems. In most cases, as an intern, that involves simply being available, helping out as much as you can, and communicating. Make it a point to be cheerful about what you do and be friendly to everyone, even the janitor!

3. Eat Lunch with People.

As an intern, you want to be seen and heard, and your impact at the company is experienced. Let them miss you when you finally go back to school. That means a lot of things. But sit with people to enjoy your lunch and have decent conversations around ideas (not people!). Introduce yourself and ensure they remember your name even if they never meet you at the eatery again.

4. Demonstrate Initiative

Some interns need clarification when they arrive at their dream company but get to do next to nothing because they weren’t assigned any tasks or responsibilities. As an intern, most organizations won’t have a clearcut set of roles and responsibilities. They will only give a permanent job to an intern who will be around for a few months. That may be challenging for your boss and yourself because there isn’t an official bible to follow.

In such a case, make things easier for your boss. Look at what they are already doing and identify what you can do to ease the burden of their work. That may involve getting them coffee, so they save time getting it. But it could also mean making their presentations for them, helping them write memos and documents, and the many other things they do. Find what you are skilled in or can quickly learn, and pitch the idea. Keep doing that until you have a set of things you can come in every day to do as an intern.

5. Demonstrate Independence

Taking ownership of what you are tasked with is a sign of competence. Most bosses look for such quality in everyone they work with. It means they don’t have to worry about your delivery. They know you will! Take on projects and do them faster. If you can finish them in 2 days, use less than four or even five days. Pose as your project manager, and ask yourself what a project manager would expect.

Do that. You may hit a snag or need help understanding things; asking for help is understandable. That demonstrates an even better quality, interdependence. An organization doesn’t work because of one person; it works because many people help each other to achieve big things. Get involved. But take it with a grain of salt; seek help only when necessary. Your job is to make life easy for your boss, not be a bottleneck when given projects wasting both your working hours.

6. Ask Questions Out of Passion and Genuine Curiosity

Nothing brightens your boss’ day better than showing genuine passion and curiosity about how you can help the organization. Think beyond your department. Think higher and ask big questions about the organization and its goals.

7. Dress Well to Impress Your Boss

Do you get it? You do!

8. Impress Your Boss with the Help of Other Interns

If you work in a large organization with other interns. You want to be seen working with and helping other interns. It shows your collaborative spirit. You want to avoid posing as a lone ranger who works in the shadows and never helps anyone. Do this, and your boss will not only impress but see you as a keeper and that it will be a mistake not to get you into the company after school.

9. Assess the Company for Their First Impression of You

While you are busy trying to make your boss smile and have a good day, you also want to see if the company fits. Are they a good fit for you? What is your first impression of the company as a whole? What is their work culture? Does it match your career goals and what you seek in an organization? You can keep a pros and cons list for more intentional about your work and future there.

10. Take Feedback Seriously to Impress Your Boss

Your primary role as an intern is to learn, build experiences and acquire skills while being helpful to the organization. No one expects you to do what the best person in the company can’t do (although that would get you in the door faster). But they expect someone who listens, takes their work seriously, and improves. Learning is critical to career and upward mobility. No one learns it all in school, and you will find yourself lacking in many areas because the industry has moved past what is taught in schools.

Didn’t Get an Offer?

Sometimes an internship goes wrong because things take time. Perhaps the time was not right.

  • Don’t take things personally.
  • Collect as much feedback as you can to help you improve!
  • It’s okay to cry but pick yourself up and build your motivation (and self-esteem) levels back up.
  • And never give up! Never!


If you keep going long enough, you will win. It’s just how things work. Keep improving.

“If you hang around the barbershop long enough, sooner or later you’re going to get a haircut” – Denzel Washington

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