By Ashlee Bishop
As a returning Intern in GRAEF’s Corporate Marketing group through the Earn and Learn Initiative, the importance and effectiveness of my position are often issues of concern, for me personally. In an Intern position, one may find they are assisting others more than actually shadowing a specific position per se or learning independently rather than matching class based instruction with on-the-job application. So to the weary intern, entry level employee or self-proclaimed stagnant, veteran employee I have a few things you can do to increase your “range of reach” on the job:
First things first, take an inventory of your skills and talents. This may seem easy and it is; however, there are some things you should keep in mind; Skills and talents are two different things. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines talent as “natural endowment(s) of a person.” This is something you really don’t have to try to have to accomplish while others do. Skills on the other hand are “developed aptitudes or abilities.” Slightly different from a talent, these attributes can be picked up along the way from any aspect of life and development. Both of these qualifications are vitally important to this professional appraisal.
Next, practice perfecting said professional attributes. Once you made your list of things you can do and the things you do well; use them! Whenever, wherever and with whom ever; practice, practice, practice, this the only way you can surely mature an expertise. Plus the added experience, I think adds to your work-related worth. Now as my grandma would say, “Now, you’re cooking with grease!” Not only have we uncovered your skill set but we are using them often.
Then, I want you to lend a helping hand! Help any and everyone, where applicable. Offer up your assistance frequently but not to the point where it becomes bothersome. Go off the feedback you are receiving, if the person appreciates your help, is always happy to have you and usually has something for you to do then, very well carry on! But if their facial expression changes when you enter their presence, even though you are only looking to help, ask that person a little less. While you are “on the job” with each person and their project you’re assisting with, go above and beyond even if you are not being paid. This way, you can let your work reflect your worth!
In addition to now knowing your professional capabilities, so do the people you work with. One last thing, don’t be afraid to inform or remind others of what you can do or have done. This way the things you are allowed to do may expand. If people don’t know of your mentoring abilities or the team-oriented attitude even when you are not the leader, then perhaps they will not consider you for projects that call for these attributes. So go ahead, when your team/ department is discussing upcoming tasks, mention your “outside of the office” experience with something similar and don’t forget to mention the results. This can cause others to become more flexible with your work assignments and in essence value your skills and assistance.
Hopefully these tips allow you to define your standing in your current position, increase your status/organizational prestige, and augment your responsibilities within your organization!