Having an internship (if not multiple) is the new normal expectation for college students. Despite being a lot of work to take on, internships can be key to finding a job after graduation. And bonus, they’re also a great way to discover what kind of work you like to do.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve gotten the internship. Well done! Whether you’re grabbing coffees or attending glamorous events, you’ll be gaining valuable work experience, trust us. But now is not the time to become complacent! Otherwise, grabbing coffees and running copies might be all you get up to during your internship. If you want to set yourself apart from the intern crowd and really shine, follow these six steps. Perhaps you’ll even get a job offer out of it!
- Go above and beyond expectations
The typical intern shows up, does their work and leaves. That’s all good and fine, but if you want to set yourself apart you’ll need to add some “oomph” to that routine. When you’re at the office, be available beyond the scope of the word. Be ready to chime in when appropriate and to volunteer for anything and everything. Meet more than what’s expected of you, so your boss is reminded of your ability and willingness.
- Anticipate office needs
While you’re interning, there are many possibilities for you to step up your responsibilities. Be astute and pay attention to daily office activities and interactions. Interning isn’t always doing coffee runs! But perhaps you can step in and offer to do so, or to answer phones during the lunch hour. Interns who are willing to do menial tasks show that they are ready to work as part of a team.
- Be present
Having an internship is super exciting and you probably want to live tweet every minute of it. But using social media while on the job is not always a good idea. While some down time can be expected as an intern, it’s important to make sure you are paying attention and are always ready to launch into whatever is asked of you. Tweet once and you could be off the clock.
- Be open to feedback and criticism
No one likes to hear criticism about themselves or their work. But at your internship, feedback on your performance is crucial to learn how to improve for your next internship or future career. No matter your job at the office, there will always be room for improvement. Make sure you listen with an open ear to feedback you get and try to figure out ways you can improve for the next time. If routine feedback isn’t built into your internship experience, ask for it! Set up a time with your supervisor to discuss your performance and each of your goals for the internship. You’ll gain valuable insight on how to improve and your supervisor will be impressed by your go-getting attitude.
- Promote and follow on social media
When you apply for a job or internship, you know to check out the company online so you’re prepared for all interview questions. But staying involved online with your company doesn’t stop there, because media presence is extremely essential to shining at your internship. Make sure to follow and engage with your company on their social media platforms. Following, liking, sharing, re-tweeting and posting about the brand will leave a good impression on your boss. Not to mention, it will show your passion for the brand!
- Send a formal thank you and stay connected
Be thankful for your internship and write it out! Internships exist to help you learn how to work as a part of a team and gain career experience. How you interact with and treat others does not go unnoticed. It really is important to remember to thank those who you worked with during your internship. Handwritten thank you notes will make you stand out.
And last but not least, stay connected! Connect with your fellow coworkers and boss on LinkedIn and even social media. Be mindful that adding your boss on Facebook or Twitter means they will see every tweet you post and article you share, so keep it professional, and you’ll be set for success.
Good luck and go rock your internship!
This article previously was published in 2016 by Tote Magazine. © Rachel Shubin 2017