Best Tools for your Internship
When you land your internship the hard work isn’t over, it’s just beginning. Here are a few tools that I’ve found incredibly useful in helping me work quicker and smarter at my internship (and best of all, they are free!)
Facebook messenger is great when communicating with other interns. Companies typically use internal tools like Slack for communication within teams, but if you aren’t lucky enough to be apart of a team that uses Slack, Facebook Messenger is the next best option. You no longer need a Facebook account to use messenger. So it’s free, easy to use, and available for anyone.
Skype can also be used for messaging team members and fellow interns, but I find the user interface less compelling than Facebook messenger and inferior to Slack. Skype is still good for peer to peer video communication times, but not optimal. You’ll find out why next.
*My team at Evol8tion communicated via Skype daily, but the interns swear by Facebook Messenger.
Google Hangouts is a better version of Skype, unfortunately, the user interface is more complicated. The interface is not intuitive and new users have a hard time getting the hang of things. It’s better than Skype simply because you can speak with more than one person at a time. Hangouts is great for group meetings when attendees are in multiple locations.
Google drive is widely used at Babson and an integral part of any group assignment. The same can be said about it in the workplace. It’s a great place to store documents that can easily be shared with superiors or peers. It easily replaced Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel on my laptop and I can’t overstate how useful Google Drive is when working on collaborative projects and sharing information with colleagues.
Google (search engine) is the supreme search engine and as an intern it will be your best friend. When you don’t have the answer Google should be your sidekick of choice. Seriously, if you don’t know something and you fail to Google the answer I question your readiness to be an intern. As an intern, there is an exponential learning curve. Google allows you to learn simple yet critical information at a fast pace.
If the question’s a too complicated for Google, use Quara. Quara allows other users answer questions. It’s especially useful when researching complicated topics, detailed topics, or if you are looking for opinions. I like Quara because you can get comprehensive answers from experienced professionals in the fields you are searching. The biggest knock on Quara is that sometimes it takes a few days (or weeks) to get great answers.
Reddit is the black sheep of my intern tools and it’s very “hit or miss.” As an intern, Reddit is helpful in one way: getting opinions. And trust me, the Reddit community has strong opinions. The community can be blunt and unapologetic, but it’s a great platform for quick and plentiful opinions on broad or detailed ideas, products, or almost anything you can think of.
For me, Photoshop is an acquired taste. I’m relatively new to the software, but boy is it helpful. From presentations to prototyping everyone should learn how to use Adobe Photoshop. One day it may save your life or, at least, save you a lot of time.
He who can’t Photoshop must paint. Paint is the program of choice for those who have not learned how to use Photoshop. It’s much harder to use and can do far less, but trust me when I say it can save you when you’re in a pinch. But seriously. Learn how to use Photoshop.
LinkedIn’s vastly underutilized by our generation. It can help when analyzing competitors and more importantly reaching out to professionals, especially alumni. It’s also a great place to learn about companies and prepare for interviews. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, I recommend making one (and adding me!)
Any restaurant with free Wi-Fi (Panera Bread)
Working for a startup I learned that an office is not always needed to get work done. See “Why Startups are Ideal for Nurturing Young Minds” for more on this.
I think it’s important to note that every person and workplace is different. The tools mentioned above worked well for me while with Evol8tion, but may not work well in other organizations. Companies take security seriously and many of the tools I described are not very secure. Check with your employer before using the tools on this list.