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Internships: How to be an effective intern at a startup

Career Advice |

Effective Intern

Startups are the hot thing now, right? There is no better time to work at a startup and interning at one can really jumpstart your professional career. From my personal experience, you learn a lot more than what is stated in the job description. Here are a few pointers that will make your internship at a startup even more worthwhile:

1. Act like an owner: When you’re selected as an intern at a startup, they are investing in you, so make sure you invest in it. Your work should reflect your 100% effort and you should always keep the company’s goals in mind while on the job.

2. Set precedents: As an intern at startup you will wear many hats and pioneer different roles. Make an impact by making sure your assigned roles are set in stone before you leave. Create tutorials, train co-workers, and do whatever it takes to make the lives of others easier.

3. Network: You will be working with the smartest and most innovative people in the industry. Take advantage of the casual environment of startups by setting aside time for one-on-one meetings with colleagues to make connections. These folks will be key in helping you advance your career so make yourself known. (Don’t forget to create relationships with other interns too.)

4. Ask questions: This is your opportunity to fully understand how a company works from an engineering, finance, and marketing standpoint. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re curious about how something works within the company. Your learning doesn’t have to end with the responsibilities of your specific role.

5. Take the initiative: There’s always a demand for something at startups so leverage your skills and go above and beyond what is asked of you. If you see an opportunity, step up!

6. Have coffee with the CEO: If you’re at a small to a mid-sized startup meeting with the CEO will be possible. You will learn a ton and how many other interns can say they have done the same?

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This article is super helpful. I will be interning at a startup this summer and look forward to applying this advice. I really like the idea of wearing many hats and being able to gain exposure you couldn't elsewhere.


Ava I'm glad it was helpful!

Maxie McCoy

Great tips Akansha!! You get to wear many hats at startups, and you're so right to suggest taking advantage of it and learning different parts of the company.

Akansha Agrawal

Akansha Agrawal is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Economics and minoring in Spanish. She has interned at a couple of start-ups in the Silicon Valley and also interned at LinkedIn last summer. Follow her on twitter @AkanshaAgrawal9