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by Rob Porter | June 10, 2024


For introverts, an internship can be a particularly harrowing experience. You’ll be required to collaborate with others and attend meetings, and if you want to get the most out of your internship, networking with others is extremely important. It can be easy to assume that extroverted individuals are best suited for internship roles, but there are strategies introverts can implement to have a successful experience.

Talk to Your Manager

If you’re feeling particularly nervous about starting your internship, speak to your boss about it. The chances are your boss has already worked with introverted interns and full-time team members in the past, and they’re likely accustomed to introverts’ concerns and preferences. In addition to this, your boss might have some advice or strategies you can use to help reduce stress or make you feel more comfortable.

If you decide to speak with your boss, be tactful in your approach. The sentiment should be “I feel that I’m most productive when I’m working alone, but I’d like to learn how to be a team player.” This will demonstrate your willingness to work with others despite your fears, as well as your eagerness to learn and improve. By making your boss aware of any issues early on, you’ll greatly reduce the stress associated with taking on new tasks.

Be Patient

As you navigate your internship, keep in mind that you’ll be working with different personalities that have their own wants, needs, preferences, and concerns. You might notice that the aspects of the internship that you struggle with come easy to others, or that you excel at a task that appears to be difficult for some of the other interns. Introverts are often deep thinkers who prefer to reflect before acting, so take your time and be patient with yourself and with others. If you’re having trouble, schedule some time to speak with your boss in person, or send them an email.

Ask Questions

An internship is a learning experience, and you’ll get out what you put in. For introverts, it can be tricky to approach their boss or a fellow team member with questions, but there are many ways to go about it. If in-person conversations are tough for you, send an email or a message on Slack. Remember, whether you’re speaking with your boss, a mentor, or a full-time team member, they’re aware that you’re there to learn, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

By asking questions, you’ll also be demonstrating your commitment to your work. When an intern is engaged and interested, there’s a good chance they’ll be considered for full-time employment at the end of the program. If you’re asked to attend meetings, review the meeting invite and devise some questions beforehand. If you find that you have trouble asking questions during the meeting, you can always send a follow-up email with your questions after the meeting ends.

Be Social

Being social at work may feel very uncomfortable if you’re an introvert, but if you set small goals for yourself, you might realize it’s not so tough after all. For example, you could set a goal to introduce yourself to one person each day. If you’re feeling particularly social, you could go out to lunch with other interns. By being social, you’ll make lasting connections during your internship, and you’ll be demonstrating your desire to work collaboratively. For the best results, set small social goals first and work your way up.

Connect with Other Introverts

A solid support system can be extremely beneficial. You may discover that some of your fellow interns are introverts. If so, make the effort to connect with them so you can support each other throughout the duration of the internship. If you have introverted friends who are taking on their own internship programs, keep in touch and discuss your experiences during your down time. If you don’t have many introverted friends, you can also seek out social media groups specifically geared towards introverts where you can get advice and share stories.

Perhaps most importantly, give yourself a break. Remember, an internship is a learning experience so it’s okay to make mistakes. Stepping outside of your comfort zone might be hard, but if you do it little by little, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Introverts have many great qualities that they can leverage to build a successful career, and by developing strategies early on during your internship, you’ll be prepared for future challenges.