First and foremost, a congratulations is in order. Congratulations on landing your internship! Your hard work and dedication has paid off. You have successfully leveraged your college experiences in order to further your learning. But how can you stand out to your fellow coworkers and employers aside from your basic classroom knowledge that you can bring to the table?
Internships are difficult and nerve-racking. Whether you’re grabbing coffee, making copies, crafting media lists, drafting press releases, creating social media content or sitting in on meetings with CEOS, there are certain ways you can stand out.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your internship experience:
Leave your ego at the front door.
This internship is a major learning opportunity. Make sure to embrace those opportunities and take advantage of every assignment you are tasked with.
Tell them who you are.
This company has never seen you in action. Show them your capabilities. Share your ideas with your coworkers and add to the innovative conversation.
Balance impressing your mentors with how much you know (being proactive and crafting high quality products) while also learning and listening to them. Be grateful that you were the one chosen for this position. Remember you were hired because of your potential but you still have more to learn.
It’s not only acceptable to ask questions, it’s expected and encouraged. Interns should not act as if they are full-time or equivalent in stature to their coworkers – you’re still learning but now in the real world!
Be proactive with an enthusiastic attitude.
Do more than what you are told. Come up with new ideas to share. Go above and beyond what is expected.
You will make it.
Do not follow the “fake it until you make it” statement. You will make it. Trust yourself and stand tall. Trust your opinion, your taste and perspective.
Be a team player.
Act as if you are part of the team. There is no harm in pushing yourself and striving to learn while also playing an important role in the team atmosphere. Solve problems both big and small with your coworkers.
Meet anyone and everyone. Introduce yourself to your coworkers. Make them the expert and ask them for their advice and help. Keep these connections and maintain the relationships. An internship is an important place to make as many connections as you can in a short amount of time. You never know who will be hiring in the future.
Make a case for a job at the end.
In many industries, companies and employers won’t come to you when they have an opening. Take the initiative and reach out to human resources regarding your progress and potential for full-time employment after your internship ends.
You have been hired as an intern because the company both saw your potential and liked you as a person. Don’t be afraid to show everyone how awesome you are. Think how much you could contribute as far as knowledge and adding to their work culture.
Written by Sophie Lair, UO PRSSA Chapter President