Internships are no longer thought of as merely a required part of one’s college degree. In today’s competitive job market, an internship can be a vital way to gain experience in your field, get a foot in the door at your dream company, and a primary way to network within that organization.
Here are eight ways to make an impact and impress your supervisor during your summer internship.
Make a solid first impression. Much like research is necessary for an impressive job interview, you should also learn as much as possible before setting foot into the office on your first day. Become a sponge and soak up every bit of information you possibly can about the organization and its employees. Don’t forget to arrive on time (or early) on your first day with a positive, eager attitude.
Go above and beyond the call of duty. On your first assignment in particular, deliver more than what was asked of you. While you should obviously still produce quality work, it can make you look like a stellar intern if you are asked to find two examples, but instead provide three.
Show up each day looking like a professional. While every office has a slightly different atmosphere and company culture, you should always strive for dressing one level above your current position. It helps others take you more seriously and picture you in a higher role at the organization in the future.
Connect with as many folks as possible. Although you’ll probably be working mainly with one or two supervisors and other interns (if there are any), it doesn’t mean you can’t build relationships with other individuals at the organization, too. Quickly learn everyone’s names and roles—and use those names often. Doing so makes you look confident and competent, and will surely make other employees remember you.
Take lots of notes. Show that your job is important to you by bringing a pad of paper and a pen to each meeting, even if you’re just called into your boss’s office for a quick chat. Being prepared at every moment shows how seriously you take your job.
Ask questions. If an assignment is unclear, ask your supervisor for more explanation. It’s better to ask questions upfront rather than spending time doing a task the wrong way—and it also shows that you think critically about each assignment you’re given from the get-go.
Pay attention to little details. Make note of your supervisor’s preferred method of communication (email, phone, face-to-face meetings?), edits he or she tends to make to your assignments, and other things to make his or her life a bit easier. By recognizing these small details early in your internship, you’re more likely to gain your supervisor’s trust and build a good rapport with him or her.
Make suggestions and volunteer when possible. If your boss is looking for feedback on a new project, make sure to chime in with suggestions or improvements. If he or she is looking for volunteers to head up a new assignment, step up to take on part of the project. This shows your superior and other employees that you know how to take initiative and are a valuable part of the team.
How else can interns impress their supervisor and co-workers during their summer internship?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.