New interns: 5 things your boss hopes you'll do

This year is all but written in stone, but 2012 is a blank slate Photo courtesy of Flickr user dtron

(MoneyWatch) In an ideal world, summer interns would receive tons of training before beginning their jobs and adequate feedback once the season started. The problem is that many hiring managers don't have a lot of time to teach their new hires. In fact, the shortest-staffed companies may be more likely to hire interns in order to pick up the slack from downsizing. So while it may seem as if mind reading is required, there are certain things every manager expects from their interns. Here are five to keep in mind:

Help the assistants

They may not be the most glamorous tasks, but lending a hand with coffee making, copying documents or filing papers makes you indispensable -- and your willingness to help out may very well get back to your boss. "Those are the people who have the boss's ear, and if they're happy, they'll rave about you," says Jessica Givens, author of "Get Your Summer Strategy On!"

Ask yourself what needs to be done

Anticipating your boss's needs shows initiative and indicates you are a team player who is sensitive to the flow of business. "One way to annoy your boss is to sit around passively waiting for someone to direct your every move," says Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, author of "The New College Reality: Make College Work for Your Career."

Be organized

Bring along the time management and study skills you use at school, including calendars, to-do lists and notebooks for jotting down important information when it's relayed to you. "You may be asked to use internal company tools for project management and scheduling, but it is easier to adapt your systems than be immediately overwhelmed because you didn't plan ahead," says Tracy Brisson, founder and CEO of The Opportunities Project.

Project a professional image

This is not just a question of how you dress (no flip-flops, please ...), but also of how you act. "For example, if you're 21-plus, never have more than one drink at a company event," suggests Nathan Parcells, co-founder and CMO of InternMatch. If you do nothing else, be on time, all the time, adds Parcells: "If you're late, it shows you're unorganized and may even come off as disrespectful."

Avoid careless mistakes

When you're learning a lot of new things quickly, it's easy to make mistakes. "Always triple-check your work," suggests Heather R. Huhman, founder of Come Recommended. "By checking for mistakes, you can prevent yourself and your boss from looking bad in front of your co-workers, clients and customers."

This is Part 3 of a three-part series on internships. Read Part 1, 6 alternatives to summer internships,here. Read Part 2, "The Internship: 6 real-life lessons from the movie," here.

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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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