Careers

10 tips to be the intern everybody wants to hire

Meryl Streep stars as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada
Arnaldo Magnani | Getty Images
Meryl Streep stars as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

These days, competition for internships is tough.

When NBC's campus recruiter contacted me about my internship application and I read the word "Congratulations!" the rest of the email faded into a blur. I had finally reached my goal of working for a national media company. I was extremely pumped during the first half of the summer — then came the first day.

I realized I was in the real world.

The nervousness kicked in. It was too late to turn back.

The first two weeks definitely took some adjusting. I learned to use different software programs and worked to meet strict deadlines. Working 40 hours a week and waking up at 8 a.m. was also new to me, being someone who treats 11 a.m. like dawn.

Eventually I got into the groove and earned more responsibilities.

It's not so bad when the hours fly by, and here I am now producing my own stories.

So what is the best way to adjust and succeed at your internship? CNBC Make It talked to some of the best career experts for helpful tips to make the most out of your experience:

1. Be coachable

"An employer hires interns for their unique skills and perspectives. If they are not coachable, the intern will not be open to learning new ways to go about their work. This mindset is so crucial for being adaptable and versatile to any work that gets thrown their way." — Tam Pham, author of "How to Land Your Dream Internship: Proven Step-By-Step System To Gain Real World Experience"

2. Challenge yourself

"Don't be afraid to really get involved. Our interns work on projects that any other full-time employee would be working on. Taking charge and having a presence in the room is very important for anyone when it comes to sharing ideas and to be heard. If you aren't honest up front with what you hope to gain during your time then that is detrimental to your personal experience." — Michan Mohajeri, university programs specialist at Facebook

3. Research and prepare

"What impresses me are the interns who reach out to the hiring manager prior to their start date to find out what more can be done to prepare themselves so they can 'hit the ground running' on Day 1. This can include reading any research written by your future team, following the news in your industry or brushing up on your technical skills." — Liz Wessel, CEO of WayUp

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Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy

4. Show your dedication

"Make sure to greet everyone you will be working with, as well as make a sincere effort to get to know them. Most importantly, show that you are there to work. Once you've been introduced and taken your tour of the workplace, ask your supervisor what you'll be working on first. That lets them know you're excited to be there, and eager to get to it." — Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter

5. Be humble

"An internship should be treated like a college class; you're there to learn things you didn't know before. Interns often arrive without much real-world experience in the business world. Coming in and recognizing you're there to learn is crucial. With that mindset, you may pick up more knowledge than you would otherwise." — Sean Leslie, senior content strategist at Payscale

6. Double check your work

"Attention to detail is a desired quality that many employers value. An intern is more likely to gain the trust of a manager sooner if they demonstrate that they can work quickly but with limited mistakes. That trust can lead to more interesting projects with greater responsibility." — Sharise Kent, career and internship Expert

7. Seek learning opportunities

"Standout interns are the ones who continuously reach out to the experts in their field or industry and ask thoughtful questions to expand their knowledge base. They read as many articles and watch as many videos as they can to make themselves better in their job and bring these learnings back to their role." — Liz Wessel

8. Be considerate

"I often make an appointment to ask questions if I know my colleagues are busy. Ask your boss, but make sure you're not interrupting anything. A simple, 'Are you busy right now?' is a great way to do it. If the answer is yes, make that appointment to chat later." — Sean Leslie

MOSS BROS
Bloomberg | Getty Images

9. Pay attention to small details

"Show up on time (or early) not just for work but for every meeting. If an emergency comes up, make sure you call a supervisor as soon as possible to let them know you'll be late. Bonus points for showing up dressed professionally everyday. When headed to a meeting with anyone, always take a pen and paper. In the meeting, no talking or texting. Lastly, smile, give a firm handshake, and be a friendly person." — Sharise Kent

10. Blend in with the company's culture

"Make the effort to blend into the culture. For example, if your whole team eats lunch away from their desks each Friday, ask if you can join. As much as internships are about evaluating your skills, the team also wants to see if you'd be a good culture fit there long-term." — Liz Wessel

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