8 ways to impress at your summer internship

by Bridget Chapman

Now is the time to transition from a college student to a working professional. An internship opportunity landed in the summer is the right step toward a successful future. Whether the internship is paid or unpaid, a dream one or not, it’s essential to get the most out of it and leave with a positive reputation. Here are eight tips to make the most out of an internship from start to finish.

 

1. Arrive early

From the training period to the last day, it’s important to never show up late. Be early and be put together. Keep in mind an intern is viewed as a potential employee. The people around the office will be impressed and notice their intern never running late.

When the staff arrives, they will notice who’s already there and see consistently early arrival as dedication. It also shows dependability and responsibility, which are key characteristics of a solid employee.

 

2. Dress professional

It’s easy to dress nicely the first few days and slowly become sloppy or take Casual Friday too literally. It’s not the beginning of the internship, but the middle and the final stream when employers really see character and dedication. Workers – including interns – are representatives of the company, and every employee needs to reflect the company in a positive way.

Follow the dress code and if it’s not clearly defined, go for business casual.

Ladies, avoid showing too much skin. Keep the cleavage and thighs covered. The old fingertip trick works to make sure skirts are long enough. One good tip is that an article of clothing is not appropriate if it has made an appearance in a club. Also, focus on keeping hair and makeup well groomed.

Guys, clean and ironed button- down shirts show class. Suits aren’t necessary in most internships, but a nice pair of slacks and a collared shirt is a professional look.

 

3. Say yes to everything

Internships offer extremely beneficial hands-on experience, but sometimes they also involve less flattering tasks. If someone asks for a coffee run, go ahead

and do the favor. Don’t think little errands as purely busy work.

The boring tasks still make an impact and show hard work. Do all the tasks no one else wants to because people will really appreciate and notice it. Not only do those actions bring positive attention, they also lead to future networking possibilities.

 

4. Network like crazy

Sometimes it’s the personal connections that advance people in their careers. It’s not always all about who you know, but if someone with influence believes in a worker’s potential they will give that person an extra boost toward the right job. Having good relations with people in the field can help with landing interviews and making new contacts. Try to get to know everyone in the workplace and do not be shy.

 

5. Act appropriately

This seems simple, but it’s easy for people to get too comfortable at their internships. Interns need to maintain a professional presence with their social media accounts. Avoid inappropriate subjects such as partying and personal drama. Also, don’t say anything negative about the company or employees in it because there’s always a chance it could come back to haunt you.

It’s important to be yourself, but remain mindful of perceptions. This is the time to be viewed as an adult and not as a child anymore.

 

6. Make the internship top priority

Despite the hectic schedules students deal with in college, an internship still needs to take precedence. Try to be as flexible as possible and don’t automatically shut tasks down if they’re outside the typical schedule.

Think of all the experience interns get from working. It’s important to take full advantage of an internship by doing as much as possible. Enthusiasm about working different days and events could be beneficial in the long run.

 

7. Stay organized

Interns receive a lot of information. Having a notebook or folder to compile notes will make each day easier and ensure no questions have to be asked twice. Anything from little tips to username and logins should be recorded.

Read these notes the night before each shift so it’s easy to get started right away.

 

8. Make the best of it

It’s an exciting accomplishment to receive an intern position. Take pride in each task and be enthusiastic about the time ahead.

Be thankful for the experience, whether it results in a job or not. Even if a job doesn’t immediately open up, it doesn’t mean it’s a failed operation. Maintaining a working relationship with people from a past internship can help with job openings in the future.

The knowledge gained— along with the class credit or money earned—is worth the time. Ultimately, an internship can help determine what someone really wants to do with his or her career.