How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Make Your Mark at Your Summer Internship
Internships are an often-ubiquitous part of college student and recent graduate vocabulary and experience, with about 75% of all American students interning at some point and approximately 52% turning them into full-time jobs, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The reasons are simple: the opportunity to gain real-life experience working in a field of interest, to ‘test-drive’ a career without the pressure of committing to it, and most importantly, for the benefits internships bring as one of the most common paths to full-time employment offers down the road.
Now that you have your summer internship - what next?
How do you ensure you’re getting the most out of your internship experience? Whether you’re a seasoned intern or just getting started, here are some tried-and-true tips to ensure you’re maximizing the opportunities you’ve worked so hard for.
- Punctuality Rules. Be on time (or early) to all meetings and when you arrive at work each day. A survey of 20 employers conducted by The Harvard Business Review found punctuality to be a critical success factor. Particularly over the summer, where the time-frame is defined and limited, it is essential to show your respect and commitment with keeping your eyes on the clock.
- Be Excellent- in ALL That You Do. Any internship comes with a certain amount of the inevitable tedious work - tasks like making coffee or copies (or both - at the same time!). Instead of fighting this, take it in stride and focus on making the very best coffee - or copies- your colleagues have ever had! Perform, ask for more work, and consistently deliver 100% - and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts and talent.
- Combat ‘Menial’ with Clear Expectations. When you first begin an internship, position yourself in your own driver’s seat and be sure to sit down with your employer to confirm expectations, daily tasks, goals, and other activities from the get-go. Not only will this ensure you’re on the same page and set up for success, but you’ll feel much more comfortable and confident knowing what is expected of you to do your best.
- Ask Questions, Be Resourceful, and Network! Make the most of your time as an intern and soak up all of the resources, experts, information, and experiences that are around you. Work hard at building relationships with colleagues, network wherever - and whenever - you can. Invite them to lunch, conduct informal ‘informational interviews,’ and solicit feedback. This will make you more memorable to your employer and their team, and help you with making the connections that will lead to lasting professional success.