Author: Beth Tucker, CEO
As I look out the window of our Boston office I see a shining sun, blooming flowers, and smiling faces – the telltale signs of summer. And along with summer comes great opportunities for college students in the form of summer internships or temporary summer work. I encourage this type of work because it provides a feel for what sort of industry you’d like to work in, if you’re not sure. On the other hand, if you already know what you’d like to do, you may be offered a permanent position at that company after graduation.
Of course, to get hired you must first make a good impression. To that end, here are three tips to make the most out of your summer internship:
1. Set your Expectations and Attitude
You may have big dreams of running the division, but every dream starts with a first step. You’ll likely begin by making other employee’s days easier. This could mean making copies, searching for files, or doing other small tasks. That’s not to say these are menial. You’ll be absorbing important knowledge like company lingo, office norms, and etiquette. But remember, while you may doing the dirty work, do it with gusto. A poor attitude can overshadow any positive work.
2. Be Thorough
Show that you care about your duties by being thorough — begin by taking notes whenever instructions are given, even if they seem simple. This shows attentiveness for the task at hand. Plus, remember to follow-up to let your manager know when a task is completed, and proactively ask if there are other ways you can help. In the event you make a mistake, own up to it right away and reassure your manager it won’t happen again. Honesty and accountability are respectable traits that enable your employer to trust you more in the long run.
3. Dress Appropriately
An internship is very different from a college class, and your wardrobe should be different, too. Wear what’s appropriate, and err on the conservative side if you’re not sure. Khaki’s and a button-down for men, or a pair of slacks and a blouse for women, are often safe bets. Once you get a feel for the company culture and dress, you can adjust accordingly. For instance, open toed shoes might be fine at a funky start-up, but could be frowned upon at a more conservative firm.
Don’t forget to keep a running list of the tasks you’ve worked on throughout the summer. Once you’ve completed your internship, use that list to update your resume while the experience is fresh. If you don’t end up working for the company where you interned, at least your resume will be current and ready for the next opportunity! Plus, remember you can tap into a recruiter’s expertise for extra help fine-tuning your resume and with finding the best career for you.