Finding your niche as an intern or new hire

Congratulations! You’ve landed a great internship or the perfect first job. You’re ready to make the most out of it by doing that networking thing you’ve been hearing is so important.

There’s a refreshing smell of flowers and rush-hour traffic in the air as you greet peers at a networking event. You feel confident, excited, and ready to charm. Then a snag. Your tongue gets tied when asked “What do you do?” It can be a tough question to answer when you’re new to a position. But there are ways to help you find a role in your company.

I recommend two great ways to become an effective intern/new hire in the workplace: Learn coffee orders and find your niche.

Every person is unique in what they bring to the table. While one intern may be incredibly outgoing and can network quite easily, another may be a thorough researcher that can find the small details that become significant in important decisions. I can turn on my laptop and make photocopies. We all have traits that allow us to be useful cogs in the company machine.

A common first step to reaching your full potential is finding out all you can about where you’re working. By understanding what your company does in the marketplace, you can get a bigger picture that connects your department to the company’s overall success.

Another thing you can do is ask questions. There is nothing more gratifying to a higher-up than hearing a newbie ask good, thoughtful questions. It shows you are curious and genuinely invested in what the company does.

No matter what kind of work you do, you will likely see ways to improve the process or department. My supervisor has challenged me and a fellow intern to brainstorm ideas on reaching out to potential clients with social media. As a millennial, I understand how social media can enhance our digital footprint and lead to business success (at least that’s what I was told. I had to make photocopies of my laptop during the call). With this project, I’m able to use my skills and find my niche.

Let’s go back to that question, “What do you do?”

Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so loaded. If it were me, I would answer now, “I’m on the digital marketing team at CSC assisting other members with reaching out to potential clients and using social media tools to enhance our digital footprint and stand out amongst our competitors.”

By learning about my company and department and keeping the big picture in mind, I can now contribute my narrative to the company mission.

So, what do YOU do at your new company or internship? How are you finding a niche this summer?

Check out what it’s like to be an intern at CSC!

Want to learn more about what we do at CSC?

RELATED LINKS

How interns can start networking

On the origin and evolution of the intern

When first-day jitters affect first impressions


Varun DattaVarun Datta is a summer intern for the digital marketing team in the Tysons headquarters of CSC. From Ashburn, Va., he goes to James Madison University and is a rising senior studying Marketing. His hobbies include watching TV shows on Netflix, hanging out with his friends, losing to 11 year olds on Pokemon Go, and using Taco Bell fire sauce as a metaphor for his mixtape. Varun will be blogging throughout his summer internship. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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