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Asked by Stacy on April 7, 2015

What are some characteristics good interns have that aren't traditional? Stuff outside the typical "energetic, willing/able to work with others, professional, etc." Thanks!

Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on April 8, 2015

In my experience, the most successful interns I have seen are the ones who take initiative. Ensure you are always busy and completing your work on time. If you have down time, use it as an opportunity to speak with your manager about other projects you can take on. There may even be an opportunity to work with another team or department. It is also important to network as much as possible during your internship. Take time to speak with your manager about networking and development opportunities. Your manager is a good resource to help connect you with employees within the organization that you should speak with over the course of your internship. Whether it is grabbing coffee with someone, having an informal conversation, receiving career advice, learning more about different departments, etc. Build as many connections as possible while you are interning.

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Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on April 8, 2015

Adaptability comes to mind.  Being open to and successful at a variety of tasks is what managers dream about.  the other trait that comes to mind is critical thinking.  How you derive outcomes vs. having someone tell you what to do is a skill that companies seek not only with interns but also with leaders and managers.  Hope this helps and good luck!

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Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on April 10, 2015

What tends to set any employee apart from others is their leadership capability.  Demonstrating leadership can be tricky, though, as you do not want to come off as being too aggressive.  Strong leaders tend to rise to the top naturally.  You will no doubt in your internship be asked to work in several groups.  In this setting, do not sit back and wait for someone to ask you something.  Ask pointed questions and show your insight.  Be confident, but not arrogant.  As an intern, you bring a perspective to any task or project that is important.  Be willing to provide that insight.  When tasks are being assigned, show enthusiasm for the project or a part of the project.  Doing these things will help position you to be placed in leadership roles.  Even if that role is informal (i.e. leading a project), it gives you exposure to your leadership, and this is what can differentiate you from the other interns.

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Answered by Kelly, Hiring Expert at The Schwan Food Company, on May 7, 2015

Curiosity isimportant whether in a technical or non-technical internship. Don't be afraid to question the status quo because a fresh set of eyes is one of the many benefits of hiring interns.   I would also agree with adaptability. It's important to be flexible and comfortable working in areas of gray as not everything will be black and in white in a working environment. Confidence is also important. Trust in your instincts and abilities.

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