If you are one of the few who have been lucky enough to score a summer internship you have been given the perfect opportunity to show what skills and assets you could bring to a company. A summer internship is also the perfect three month interview for the company and will allow them to see what students would best fit in with the company’s culture.
But it’s not enough to get the internship; you also need to take some steps while you are there to ensure you make a good impression. Even if you do not think you want to work for the company in the future after your summer internship it’s important not to burn bridges. I once worked at a company who hired an intern for the summer only to have the intern return to their college and disparage the company they had worked for during the summer. Not only did this sour the company on the concept of interns, it created a sticky situation for the student.
Steps to maximize your summer internship
So what do you need to do to separate yourself from the masses of other students who have also interned? USA Today published a report this week which outlined several good steps that all good interns should try to ensure their experience at their job for the summer is productive.
First, be aggressive at the office. It’s not unusual for some students to assume that the moment they arrive at the office there will be a pile of work for them to do, but the reality can be much different. You may need to make yourself available and ask what you can do. If your boss doesn’t have enough work see if there is anyone else that needs work done.
Next, move out of your comfort zone. The great thing about going anywhere new, whether it’s a new school or job, is that you can be anyone you want to be. The people at the new office don’t know you. They don’t know you flaked out at a recital in fourth grade or failed a public speaking assignment in speech class. Now is the time to try new things, challenge yourself and deliver good work products.
Make good contacts. Although you most likely will not become best friends with the CEO of a fortune 500 company in one summer, you can become well acquainted with your boss and other co-workers. No one is suggesting you put on a false front and be someone you aren’t, but being friendly, smiling, and going to lunch with co-workers can go a long way to developing friendships which could pay off in the future.
Bottom line for your summer internship
If you have been lucky enough to find a summer internship you need to make the most of your time. Be proactive, friendly, hard-working and loyal. Remember, you are constantly being evaluated. If you can make yourself stand-out by delivering something which is unexpected there’s a good chance that when you graduate from college you will have a company willing to give you a permanent job and you may just be able to repay those student loans.
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