Whether or not you’re angling for a full-time role at the company you intern with, it won’t hurt to turn heads and get noticed—in a good way! Find out from Janice Liu, Radhika Tandon, Simran Hathiramani, and Siyi Chen about the qualities that push an intern from ordinary to exceptional.

1 | Have the Courage to Speak Up

Speaking up at the right time and place can pay off. For example, when interning with Your-Comics, a visual communications company in France, Radhika saw an opportunity to add value to the organization’s global business expansion plans.

“My manager was quite impressed with my ideas and put me in charge of some international marketing and communication projects,” she recalls.

“People are looking for a fresh perspective, so I think if you feel there’s a process that doesn’t work, you should reach out.” Janice, who works in the human resources department at Unilever, concurs. She muses that interns may have difficulty doing this because they feel intimidated in a new environment or think they are too junior and should wait for a manager’s guidance before taking action.

“What makes an intern ‘good’ is when they are curious and take initiative,” she affirms. This brings us to the next point:

2 | Take the Initiative to Ask

How do you know what to do to add value to the team’s work? Sometimes, you just have to ask, Simran says. During her internship as a Sales & Trading Summer Analyst at J.P. Morgan, she took the initiative to ask each department head what asset classes they would be most interested in so she could support them with research.

“That little bit of initiative made all the difference. I understood exactly what they wanted from me,” she shares, adding that this helped her exceed expectations and build a strong network for the future.

3 | Own the Tasks You Take On

Siyi, whose experience spans multiple internships in product management, compliance, and investment banking, believes interns stand out when they show responsibility. “This means showing that you care about the task and want to do it well—not just finish it,” she clarifies.

Instead of taking instructions at face value and rushing through the work, understand the bigger picture of what and why something is needed.

“Do even the small things well, and you’ll gain the company’s trust, then they’ll be more likely to give you more important work in the future,” she says. Or, like in her case, maybe even give you the referral you need to secure a position at the next company you apply to!

4 | Demonstrate the Humility to Learn

Negative feedback can be demoralizing and make you second guess yourself, but look at it this way: “You’re just starting out and nowhere near the peak of your career,” Simran says. Instead of beating yourself up, take it constructively so you know how to improve.

Janice reiterates that for those eager to convert their internships into full-time job offers, remember not to be too hard on yourself. She recommends that you be realistic about your expectations and what you can do and be willing to reach out for help. After all, while working hard is essential, what may be more important is remembering what internships are for To learn.