For students and recent graduates, internships are the number one way to gain experience in your field and get your foot in the door.
However, simply landing that internship at your dream company is not enough. You must impress your employer and stand out from the numerous interns that have come before you, and are sure to come after you.
Good interns are enthusiastic, committed, trustworthy and have a high willingness to learn. If you want to rock your next internship, and possibility turn that position into a full-time job, practice these tips below.
1. Show up early, everyday.
This goes without explanation. Be on time everyday and don’t try to steal extra time on your lunch breaks. Trust us, someone is always watching.
2. Never say no. Volunteer to do the work no one else wants to do.
Your work as an intern will not always be glamorous. Sometimes it’s tedious, messy and you may not understand its purpose. But, with any task you are given, no matter how big or small, go all out. Sometimes an intern’s job is to simply make someone else’s life easier. Also, never allow yourself to have free time. Volunteer to do that extra photocopying, filing or cleaning that no one else wants to do — with a smile.
3. Don’t work 9 to 5; work until the job gets done.
It’s important that you pay close attention to detail and complete each of your tasks in their entirety. This may mean staying after hours or taking your work home, but it will show that you are trustworthy and have a strong work ethic. When you prove that you care about the quality of your work, you will be trusted with bigger and better assignments.
4. Network with people in all departments.
Never be afraid to introduce yourself to people in the office. Try to plan lunch dates with your co-workers and other executives. This will give you a chance to ask questions about the field and get your own career advice from experienced professionals. Most people are happy to help and everyone loves talking about themselves. Remember to build that relationship by keeping in touch, even after your internship is over.
5. Mirror the office culture.
As an intern, you want to stand out but not in a bad way. While some work environments are laid-back others are more formal. Observe the culture in your office — including the dress, timeliness and vocabulary — and mirror that. However, when it comes to the dress code it’s advisable to always dress professional. For example even it’s casual Fridays, dress business casual. This shows you take your job seriously.
6. Ask questions.
Take notes so you can execute each task successfully. And remember if you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up; that’s normal when you are learning. However, if you happen to make a mistake don’t try to cover it up. Own up to it. Also, you should occasionally ask your boss for feedback. This shows that you care about the progress and accuracy of your work.
7. Don’t Tweet.
Avoid using your personal social media accounts during the day. Although you may think you’re an excellent multitasker, your full attention should be on your work. Your text message conversation and new Instagram posts can wait. Stay focused.
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