Are you spending your summer slaving away for little to no pay? Make the most out of your summer internship. Take full advantage of the opportunity to work alongside those experienced in your field. Follow these ten helpful tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of your summer internship.
1. Dress for Success
Preparing for your first day at an internship can be tough. The age-old question: to overdress, or not to overdress? We suggest you take the middle path. Opt for dressing in business casual for your first day, which is a safe choice. Then, take a look at how your coworkers are dressed. Is it common to see employees in suits? Are you working at a more relaxed start-up where jeans and t-shirts are the norm? Dress on par with the better-dressed junior employees, and you can’t go wrong.
2. Arrive on time
Making a good impression means appearing eager and hardworking. In order to give off the vibes of awesome employee-ness, arrive 15 minutes before you’re scheduled to clock in. Spend that time making your to-do lists for the day, and checking your email. Your supervisor will be impressed, and will be much more apt to write you a great recommendation letter after your internship ends.
3. Pitch yourself
On the first day, and subsequently when meeting new team members, you will inevitably need to introduce yourself briefly, yet professionally. You’ll want to come across as enthusiastic, yet mature for your age. Prepare a personal elevator pitch that highlights your background, special skills, and interests on the job. Vary your personal pitch with each team member you meet. For example, when chatting with a member of the design team, you may want to stress your graphic design skills, rather than your love of spreadsheets.
4. Speak up for projects you want to take on
When meeting your colleagues from different teams, as well as when checking in with your supervisor, it is crucial to advocate for projects you want to take on. Let your supervisor know that you’ve noticed an area that needs some investigation, and offer your plan to research and solve the problem.
5. Pick your colleagues’ brains
Seize the opportunity to learn from experienced employees. Make a list of all the questions you’d love to know—even if they don’t directly relate to your field. Then, schedule time with various team members. Let the marketing manager know you’d like to grab coffee to ask him some questions about ad-buying. Schedule a quick meeting with the UX manager to ask best practices for integrating user experience into your field. By learning from the pros, you’ll soon be a pro yourself!
6. Prepare for meetings
There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up for a meeting unprepared. Don’t make this mistake. The day before a scheduled meeting, take time to jot down notes, questions, and an outline of what you’d like to discuss (if one hasn’t already been provided in your meeting invitation). This will help you to stay focused and relaxed in your meeting.
7. Take notes
During meetings, be sure to take notes, whether on a laptop, or with pen and paper. Not only will you appear incredibly on top of your game, but you can also use these notes in follow-up emails, or in later meetings.
8. Watch your chatter
Interns have a bad reputation at some companies for their continual chatter. Don’t fall into this trap, and prove this stereotype wrong. Chat at the water cooler, during lunch, or after work. By keeping your focus on your work, you’ll come across as professional, and ready to be hired for any upcoming roles.
9.Keep a tidy workspace
Maintain your desk, and clean up at the end of each day. Enough said—we’re sure you can handle it.
10. Document everything.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forgetful in the workplace. That’s why it’s essential to document your tasks, and the last action you took regarding that task. Some use a word document, while others keep track of their tasks via excel. The idea remains the same—-keep track of where you left off on a task, so you can easily pick it back up, or discuss your progress with your manager.