8 Ways You Can Make The Most Of An Internship
With the spring rapidly coming to a close, summer jobs and internships are fast approaching. Starting a new position is incredibly exciting, but can also be really nerve-wracking, especially if you haven’t had much pertinent job experience yet. Here are eight tips for starting your internship strong and feeling confident throughout the duration of your experience.
Dress to impress
You don’t need to go on a blow-out shopping spree for an entirely new work wardrobe, but do make sure you have enough classic pieces to carry you through the internship that are work appropriate.
Understand what kind of office you’ll be working in. Is it a small start-up where jeans and t-shirts are allowed? Or is it a banking analyst position where blazers are a must? If you’re not sure, reach out to your HR contact and ask.
When in doubt, dress up, not down. Think plain black, navy, or khaki bottoms with simple blouses that you can add accessories to for flair. After a week or two, you can decide if it’s appropriate to add more color and style based off of the company culture.
Introduce yourself to as many people as possible
The best thing you can do for yourself at a new position is to introduce yourself to as many people in the office as you can. Make friends with your fellow cubicle mates, have lunch with other interns, and ask higher-ups to grab a coffee.
Getting to know as many people as you can will allow you to understand the company culture, and it might expose you to a new field or area that you never imagined you might be interested in.
This goes along with introducing yourself to people – pick their brains. Understand their role within the company, their background, and their goals. This will help you figure out your aspirational role and goals for the duration of your internship and beyond. Everyone's journey to where they are is different and hearing their stories can be an incredible learning experience for a young professional.
Additionally, take every opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the company and the industry as a whole. Ask questions when appropriate and search for answers on your own. The greater your knowledge on the subject, the more value you can potentially provide. Plus, it'll help you in future interviews.
Schedule time with your supervisor for check-ins
This is something that your supervisor might already do, but if not, take the initiative and see if you can schedule catch-ups every 2-4 weeks. Review the work you’ve done so far, ask what you can be doing better, and work together to set goals for yourself. Internships can often be quite short, so setting attainable goals with your boss is crucial for you to flourish and add something beneficial to the company.
Keep track of the work you’ve done
At the end of the internship, you’re going to have an awesome experience to add to your résumé so don’t forget what you’ve done! Keep a simple spreadsheet or document on your desktop and jot down the projects you’re working on throughout the summer. Everything from the mundane to the extraordinary can add to your knowledge base and skill set, so make sure you note it down somewhere to reflect on at the end of your tenure.
Demonstrate your knowledge
Many internships end with some sort of final presentation, but if not, maybe suggest to your boss that it is something you’d be interested in pursuing. Showing off the work you’ve done will leave a lasting impression on your co-workers, and will remind them what you’ve been doing throughout your time there. Even if you’ve only worked on small projects or tasks, include the bigger picture of how your work impacts the company.
Ask for a reference
Before you leave, make sure you have one or two people that you feel comfortable asking for a reference afterward. Check with them to see if they’re okay with you listing them as a reference moving forward, and if so, make sure you get their best contact information. Connect with your co-workers on Linkedin and get anyone else’s contact information that you might want to follow up with later on.
Check in post-internship
Don’t let your boss or co-workers forget all about you, especially if you’re interested in returning to the company full-time. A month or two after you’ve finished working, reach out to the people you worked closely with and check in on any projects you helped with. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and your strong work ethic.
The internship will go by quickly. Take these tips and conquer this internship from beginning to end. This is just the start of a fulfilling career.
Do you have any tips for conquering a summer internship? Share with us in the comments below!