Standing out in a crowd is hard to do sometimes
How can you leave a lasting impression?
Some companies accept few interns while other larger companies may have hundreds.
No matter the situation, making a good impression has long-term benefits such as:
Gaining a mentor
Building a professional network
There are many ways to stand out: we have collected a few of the most common qualities of interns identified by employers!
Treat Your Internship Like A Real Job
"Practice the way you play," is common advice given to athletes and great advice for internships.
Although you may feel like “just an intern,” you are an important part of the team and an employee during the internship.
Take notes during meetings, ask questions, and meet deadlines.
Be honest and respectful and offer help when you have extra time on your hands.
Talk to everyone that works at the company, both in and out of your department.
Identify employees to look up to who have a strong work ethic. What is their approach to work?
Be An Asset And Know Your Worth
Get to know your boss – and their work style.
One sign of a great employee is anticipating needs before they are needs. If you know a project is starting soon prepare and get started before you're even asked. It’s a surefire way to impress your boss and coworkers.
You will be able to better assist with project demands and position yourself as an invaluable asset to the team from the beginning of your internship.
Similar to doing a self-assessment of your strengths and weakness, doing this for your teammates might give you insight into areas where you can add value.
Know the internship description and keep an updated copy for yourself!
Many interns complain that their internships are not what they had hoped or were led to believe. It’s ultimately up to you to ensure that your internship follows the job description. Have an honest and open discussion with your boss about your original job description if you have concerns.
Advocate for yourself because nobody else is going to do it for you!
Set A High Bar
Be the go-to intern your supervisor thinks of for a project.
As you get comfortable with your day-to-day tasks look for additional projects or opportunities.
If you are struggling to think of additional projects or ways to expand your skill set, reach out to your supervisor to pencil in a time to discuss new projects and learning opportunities.
Be aware of "stepping on others' toes" (taking on someone else’s tasks). That makes you look good and another coworker look bad, which is a surefire way to create conflict.
The most memorable interns are students who strive to go above and beyond a company’s defined set of responsibilities and apply what they learn to take their work to the next level.
Ask For Feedback And Advice On How To Improve
It’s true, confidence is important, but you also need to be teachable.
“A 20-something know-it-all is a huge red flag,” cautions Tim Toterhi, a TEDx speaker:
“Sure, maybe you’ll run the place one day, but probably not on day one. Bring the correct balance of confidence and humility to the discussion and you’ll increase rapport with the hiring manager.”
Feedback may seem scary but don’t think of it as criticism – shift your mindset to think of feedback as a strategy for growth:
“If you can do something more efficiently or better, then feedback will help you get there. Plus, it demonstrates your eagerness to better yourself in the role, which is valuable to managers.”
Maintain a “first-day” attitude
Every intern tries to make a good initial impression by dressing professionally, arriving early, and asking thoughtful questions. Keeping this discipline for the entire internship is an easy way to stand out.
“As the summer progresses, some students start to let these good habits fall by the wayside.”
“It’s normal and healthy to feel comfortable at your internship, but do not let settling in turn into complacency.”
Maintain professional habits throughout the course of your internship, as it demonstrates your commitment.
Approach your last day with the same level of care as you did the first day.