An intern's goal should be to firmly plant themselves into a company so that when your internship is finished, a void is left behind.
The deeper you spread your roots throughout the company, the bigger the space will be when you are gone. Making yourself as indispensable as possible makes it more likely that you will be offered a paid position when your internship is complete. This is a difficult challenge, especially in larger companies but there are a few things you can do to make yourself more valuable as an employee.
Research Your Position before You Start
Before your first day as an intern there are a few things you should research, in order to fully prepare for your new position. First, make sure you are familiar with every tool, program or piece of equipment that you might use throughout your day. If you know you are going to be working in Excel a lot, try to know as much as you can about the program. The more you know, the less likely you are to make a mistake. Plus, if you are well acquainted with the tools of your trade, you may even get an opportunity to show it by helping a co-worker or even your boss when they are having an issue with a program.
You should also do a little research on your company. Sometimes it can be hard to understand what a business actually does. Try to know the industry and how your company fits into it.
Listen Carefully and Pay Attention
Business owners and managers often have a lot on their plates. They need people around them that they can trust to get a job done efficiently and correctly. If you receive instructions, either verbally or via email, pay attention to the details. It is an embarrassing moment when you do a job incorrectly only to reread your instructions to find that they explicitly told you to not to make that particular mistake. If you are known as the person who pays attention and does things right the first time, it goes a long way in making you non-expendable.
Don't Be Afraid to ask for Clarification
An office environment often involves very busy people trying to communicate with each other as quickly as possible. Sometimes this results in a hastily written email or unclear instructions. Don't be afraid to ask follow up questions when you are given a task. Most people would rather spend more time explaining what they want rather than spending time fixing problems after mistakes have already been made.
Show an Eagerness to Learn
In a business environment, training new people and teaching them the ways of a company is an investment. Most people want the time they spend to yield good results. If you make it clear that you are interested in the business and you are eager to learn more, you are showing your superiors that teaching you new things is a sound investment of their time. Plus, the more time and effort that is put into growing you as an employee makes you more valuable overall.
Be Willing to Take on New Responsibilities
If you consistently do the jobs you are given well and if you spend time asking questions and learning new things, you should look to take on new jobs and responsibilities. If something needs to be done beyond your normal tasks, volunteer to do it. Just be sure that you aren't neglecting your main assignments. If you have a hand in multiple areas of the business, you are more indispensable overall.