As the summer rolls around, the pressure for college students to build their resumes is overwhelming. Every conversation towards the end of the year involves questions about who is working where or who scored the coolest internship for the summer. While the constant chatter about work may make some want to run and hide, having an internship is a vital step toward creating a successful career path. Internships provide invaluable, hands-on experience in the work place and help students develop professional skills to increase their shot at scoring a full-time position in the future.
Although the unknowns of an internship can be nerve-racking, the benefits of a summer-long experience in the business world are undeniable. Next time you step into a new work experience, use these three tips to calm your nerves, stand out from the pack and make the most of your internship.
1) Act like your internship is a real job
While internships are temporary, you should not act like a temporary employee. If you want to be taken seriously at work, treat your internship like a real job. Commit to every, single assignment because your contributions and subsequently, your mistakes, have an effect on your coworkers and clients.
As you would in a real job, be punctual and complete assignments by or before the deadline if possible. Having good time management skills is just as important for an internship as it is for a full-time job. The more you demonstrate to your coworkers that you are a hardworking, trustworthy, employee who fits the mold of the company, the more likely it is that you will you will be on the short-list of future hires when a new position opens in the company.
College students hear it all the time—networking is the most effective way to land a job post-graduation. While networking with alumni or professors at your university forms important professional connections, there is no better way to build professional relationships than during an internship.
Socializing with both your fellow interns and your superiors can be extremely intimidating; however, reaching out to your coworkers and maintaining those relationships even after your internship ends can only have positive outcomes. Use social media as a networking tool, but remember to keep your pages professional.
If you network correctly throughout your internship, you will most likely leave with glowing recommendations, an excellent reputation and connections that will help further your career.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions
As an intern, you are not expected to know everything. With that being said, you should do your homework before your first day to have a good understanding of how the company works so you do not look like a deer in headlights when you get your first assignment. Asking the right types of questions to the right people can be a hard skill to master, but stepping out of your comfort zone and asking thoughtful questions demonstrates to your superiors that you care about the work you are doing and that you have a genuine curiosity about the company.
My best advice when it comes to asking questions is to not always ask your direct supervisor. Asking other coworkers around you not only gives you the answer you were looking for, but also provides an opportunity to socialize within the company.
For more tips on how to make the most of your job, check out 3 Ways to Elevate Yourself at Work.