How to Shine in Your Internship
You’ve landed the internship. The boss liked you. He was impressed by your extensive list of extra-curricular activities and leadership roles as a student in college. You’re all set…right? Wrong! Plenty of interns acquire internships with an impressive résumé. These steps will tell you how to impress your employers with the writer of the résumé—you!
• Be a “self-starter.” You will surely hear this phrase in the workplace for years to come. Employers are always looking for “self-starters.” That is, someone who will not wait to be asked to do something, but rather someone who looks for work to do. This means you’re asking anyone you can if there is something you can do to help them out.
• Do the dirty work eagerly! You’re at the bottom of the totem pole when you’re an intern, so it is inevitable that you will be given undesirable work to do. Be excited to do it! Exude enthusiasm when given the chance to answer the phones. Light up at the opportunity to sift through paperwork. If you’re happy to do what most people dread, this will definitely show in a positive way.
• Volunteer your spare time. Even if you and your boss decided on a set schedule, they won’t forbid you from staying a little late. Tackle a project that might take an hour or so longer to complete than you’re supposed to work. This brings me back to my first point: Ask for the assignment in the first place.
• Be talkative! You are at your internship primarily to learn. Ask questions. Present new ideas. Talk to the employees about what they do and how they do it. Just make sure you aren’t spending all your time chatting about how things are going with your girlfriend or what your plans are for the weekend.
• Sell your strengths. Are you a pro at Adobe Photoshop? Have a way with words? Are you the fastest typist this side of the Mississippi? Let others know that! Whether you are mentioning your strengths in the interview process or boasting about them to fellow employees, you may just find that the opportunities to prove yourself in these areas will present themselves.
• Find a mentor. The head honcho of the company might be a little busy, but there is probably another employee that would be happy to be your mentor. Look for a go-to person who seems the most welcoming to you and hang around them for a little while. See if you can shadow them while you work. You’ll find that many people will be happy to act as your internship “guru.” Keep this person as a reference, too – this is a great networking opportunity!
Being proactive at your internship may not be second-nature for everyone, but it really is an excellent way to market yourself. This is your first taste of what life after college will be like, and using these points as your guide will show everyone that you’ll be fully equipped for the real world when you graduate.
Adrienne Becker is a Syracuse University student from Danbury, CT majoring in Writing and Rhetoric with a Leadership Communication minor. She is a big fan of impressionist art, ocean views and classic rock. She hopes to one day have her name in the credits of a hit film whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera.
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