Internship anxiety is a common experience for many candidates - feeling apprehensive, nervous, intimidated, or eager about a new role is a completely normal part of life. For interns, it can be intimidating to prepare for an internship program. There’s a lot (and we mean, a lot!) of information and resources available, both before and during a program.
As an intern, setting yourself up for success can be a little easier thanks to the tips in this blog post. In honor of intern season kicking off, we sat down with Hannah Maleki, Deputy Manager of Virtual Operations at CrowdStrike, to hear her recommendations for how interns can best prepare, how they can approach networking, and how they can embrace the concept of “managing up.” Here’s what she had to say:
Prepare for Success
Preparing for your internship is important for several reasons. You’re more likely to make immediate and impactful contributions, have higher levels of confidence, and a better chance of future success. So, what does this look like as candidates surge toward their start date? Hannah’s advice starts with encouraging interns to polish up their skills before their program begins. “Reach out to your manager and ask for reading material and other resources,” she advises. “That way, you can hit the ground running from the start of your internship.”
Prepping for an internship also requires the right mentality, Hannah adds. “An intern should come into the internship with a growth mindset. Not everything will be easy in the beginning and sometimes it may feel like you are getting a ton of information at once, but if you acknowledge that it will take time to learn the ropes, you will be able to adjust better. The goal is to learn and improve.”
Approach Networking With Confidence
For CrowdStrike interns, “[the] goal should be to gain as much hands-on experience as possible, build transferable skills they can use later on, as well as form relationships with their colleagues and peers,” Hannah says.
Although the concept of “networking” can be intimidating, Hannah points out the importance of taking initiative when being placed in the right environment. Talking to colleagues about projects you are working on can be an appropriate and easy conversation starter - after all, work is something you have in common! And she encourages interns to think longer-term. “Taking every opportunity to get to know others within the company and your fellow interns will expand your network,” she remarks.
“A successful intern is adaptable and flexible in navigating different situations and tasks that come their way. A successful intern will take on new challenges as a growth opportunity and not be afraid to ask for help from their managers and mentors when they encounter difficulties.” -Hannah Maleki, CrowdStrike
Master the Concept of Managing Up
“Managing up” is a practice of proactively working with a manager, taking initiative, and adapting to meet goals and expectations. In short, it is being the most effective employee you can be to create the most value for your manager and your company.
For interns, “managing up” requires communication and initiative. Hannah encourages interns to constantly stay in touch with their supervisor or manager as they move through their program. “Be open about what types of learning experiences you are looking for,” she says. “Your manager will be able to guide you to the right people to talk to and help facilitate meaningful opportunities.”
It also requires getting comfortable with feedback and asking questions. As an intern manager herself, Hannah advocates for an open-door policy. “A manager’s door is always open for questions - it’s our job to guide you in the right direction,” she says. “Never be afraid to ask.”
She also encourages interns to be open and honest in 1:1 meetings. “This is your time to describe the challenges and problems you are facing,” she notes. 1:1s are a dedicated space for transparent conversations and can help foster stronger working relationships, build trust, and ensure alignment on progress and performance. And the benefits of these meetings go both ways: for intern managers, 1:1s are opportunities to come up with solutions for you, she adds.
To set yourself up for success, Hannah identifies adaptability, flexibility, and willingness as the three main qualities to have. To her, a successful intern is open to new challenges and isn’t afraid to admit or ask for help when they encounter roadblocks. Finally, it’s all about that growth mindset and seeing the internship as a stepping stone to the next part of your career.
With heavy investment in intern experiences and success, Hannah and her team at CrowdStrike provide candidates with an exciting career they’re not likely to get anywhere else. For more insights like these or to learn more about a career at CrowdStrike, visit their website here.