After hours of cover letter and resume tweaking, countless Indeed submissions, and a few cringe-worthy interview questions, you have finally landed your dream internship! Gone are they days of ringing up groceries -this is the big leagues. Although this 10-12 week duration may be a requirement to graduate or an expected action of a rising upperclassman, it is critical to make the most of the experience because you never know where it might lead!
So before your first day, after you GPS the office, look up train times, and review your welcome packet, follow these simple best-practices in order to make your 12-weeks the first step in a successful, fulfilling career.
- Stand Out-For the Right Reasons: You most likely won’t be the only summer intern at your new company. In order to make a good impression that could lead to a full-time position, it is imperative that you stand out. This entails being proactive: stay well read on industry trends and client news so that the work you produce is always informed and accurate. Flying under the radar is not in your best interest – you want to be remembered for your dedication and work ethic. That being said, stay respectful, professional, and polished at all times.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions: Nobody expects you to have all the answers, you are here to learn. In order to optimize your experience, ask relevant, focused questions. It displays a level of commitment to your job, and will only improve your performance and build skills that you can take with you.
- Ask For More, and Take Advantage of Every Opportunity That is Given: Ask your internship coordinator about attending networking events, or sitting in on meetings and client calls. Create opportunities to show your talents by generating original content or graphics -these real-time learning experiences will be invaluable. WHEN you shine given these new opportunities, you will be given more and more responsibility.
- Immerse Yourself in the Culture: Get to know your new team members, on both a personal and professional level. Use them as the valuable resource that they are throughout your time with the company – ask them to look over your resume or portfolio, and make appointments for exit interviews with company leaders to re-cap your experience. Embrace the setting – start incorporating industry-related terminology into your vocabulary. The more you act like a full-time employee, the more likely you are to become one.
- Dress Like an Executive, Not an Intern: Regardless of what the other interns are wearing, or what you are told is “allowed,” dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have. Taking care with your appearance only reaffirms that you are taking the job seriously, and it will give you the confidence you need to tackle every project. Hint: Take company culture into consideration and mimic what what the directors and decision makers are wearing.