You’ve done it! You’ve landed the summer internship of your dreams and you’re determined to make the most of the experience. But how can you be sure that you’re doing everything you can to obtain the skills you need while making a terrific impression on the powers that be in the office?
- Make a great first impression. Your mom may have told you that you have approximately seven seconds to make a first impression. When you meet someone for the first time, 93% of what they think about you is derived from your appearance and your body language. 93%. So, listen to mom: dress professionally with clean, unwrinkled clothing; don’t slouch; look people directly in the eye; and, please, smile.
- Deliver results. When someone, anyone, asks you to complete a task during your internship, complete it accurately and efficiently. Adhere to deadlines. If you’re struggling with a task, ask questions. If you know you’ll need more time to complete a task, let your supervisor know sooner rather than later.
- Offer assistance. If you find yourself without a project or a task, be proactive. Go to your supervisor and let them know that you’ll be happy to help with any other departments or projects. You’ll not only develop additional skills and make new contacts, but you’ll also be respected for your initiative.
- Be discreet. You may be accustomed to putting your life on display on Twitter or Instagram. You are now a professional, however, and the details of your work life shouldn’t be out there for all the world to see. Keep comments about the receptionist’s out-of-date shoes or the taste of the sludge-laden coffee to yourself.
- End on a terrific note. As you end your internship, be sure to send a handwritten note to your boss, mentors or other co-workers who made the experience valuable. It’s a simple, thoughtful gesture that may help you stand out from other interns.
The company who hires you for your internship may very well become the first professional position you’re offered after you complete your degree. Quite often, it’s the simple things that make all the difference in creating a valuable experience that will provide a stepping stone for your professional goals.
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