One skill that I’ve really tried to hone over the course of my internships has been finding a way to take good, efficient notes. This is really crucial, because what separates a good intern from a memorable intern is someone who pays attention to detail, takes initiative, and works efficiently. It’s easier to be a memorable intern when you can keep yourself organized! I’ve created a system for myself when it comes to note-taking, and I’ve found it to yield great results. I hope it helps you, too!
Tips For Successful Note-Taking at Your Internship
1. Write down the name of everyone you meet and something that will help you remember them.
2. When your boss is talking to you about assignments and tasks, you’ll likely write down a lot of info so you don’t miss anything. After she leaves, clean up your notes for yourself by numbering the specific tasks throughout your notes, and putting a large circle around each number. Cross out the number when you’re done with a clean “X” so you know you’ve completed it – this will help you stay organized.
3. Keep a separate page in your notebook with questions, so you don’t have to go back and bother your boss a million times. It’s great to ask questions at an internship – and it’s definitely better than messing up – but you don’t want to seem like the intern who can’t do anything on her own. Keep a list of questions, because some will be more important than others. If it’s not something that requires an immediate answer, wait until your next check-in with your boss, and ask her all your questions. Cross them out once they’ve been answered, and write down the answer if you think it will help you.
4. Keep another page with important contact info and passwords, etc. If you need the email addresses of several people in the company, keep them on a page. If you have a username and password to log onto your office laptop, another username and password for your company email address, and yet another one to log onto the company server, you’ll never memorize them all on your first day. Better write that down.
5. Whenever something in your recent notes becomes irrelevant, or you’re completely finished with it, mark it as so with one clean line through it. You want it to still be readable, but if you’re flipping through pages to find something, you’ll know to immediately disregard those parts, which will save you time.
6. Put the date at the top of each page, so you can reference when you had completed certain tasks.
7. This may sound obvious, but take your notes in bullet points. It will be MUCH easier to sort through when you’re setting apart tasks from extra info.
8. If you have multiple bosses, supervisors, or mentors, try to keep the notes for them on separate pages. If this is too difficult, put their name in parentheses after each bullet point of text so you don’t get your responsibilities crossed.
Have you used any of these methods? What other tips do you have for note-taking at your internship?