Have you started a practicum or internship this spring? These experiences can be tremendously valuable, providing you with the opportunity to build skills for your resume and meet people who are working in your industry. This is the time to prove you’re willing to work hard, that you’re bringing value to the company and you’re worth the long-term investment.
Internships can be a difficult adjustment period for students who have little to no experience in professional offices. It can be hard for someone to stand out and make the right impression during a three-month stint spent adapting to such a new environment. Here are some tips to help all students make the most out of their summer internship experience.
Volunteer for additional work.
Supervisors or upper-level management love when employees go above and beyond for the team and organization. If you’ve completed all assigned work, don’t be afraid to ask for more! This shows initiative and will likely make you stand out with superiors and management.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
When it comes to your internship, there is no such thing as a stupid question! You might feel like your annoying or constantly harassing your boss, but don’t let that deter you from asking if you’re unsure or you need clarification. Trust us, they’ll appreciate you asking about the assignment rather than doing it completely wrong.
This is an incredible opportunity for you. Don’t burn any bridges by complaining about the corporate structure or organization in general.
Arrive early and stay the full day.
This should be obvious, but be early! Punctuality shows eagerness, initiative, and commitment to the organization. If something pressing comes up, we’re sure your supervisor will be cool letting you leave. But just so we’re clear, your friends suggesting patio beers is not a valid excuse to check out early. Otherwise, spend as much time as you can at the office and soak up aaaaall the knowledge!
Your co-workers can be your friends and colleagues! The connections that you make will benefit you professionally and personally. And just think, you already have something in common; you work in the same industry and are passionate about the success of the organization.
Embrace constructive criticism.
This one can be difficult for some students. You are ideally there to learn and grow. Don’t take things too personally. Be open to suggestions and keep an open mind about any recommendations the organization may have about your quality of work.
Buy a notepad and take as many notes as possible. The notes can be very helpful with remembering important information throughout your stay in the company. The last thing your supervisor wants is to repeat the same thing over and over again. Prove to them that you’re a good listener by using your notes as reference.
Meet people from different departments.
You will likely meet different departments throughout the couple months, collaborating on jobs together. If you are the only person in a department, feel free to walk around the office and introduce yourself. This can help make better connections and enhance your approachability for future collaborations.
Reference letters are always great but try to stay connected even after you leave the office. Those connections can hold prospective jobs. Although there may not be a position for you at the organization currently, by staying connected, you’ll be the first person they think of and recommend for future positions.