If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: experience is the best teacher! And what better way to learn than when there are people willing to teach you? That's why Summer internships are a win-win. Not only can you get some valuable experience while the company gets an extra hand and someone to add to their potential talent pipeline, but you also may even get paid. More importantly, if you play your cards right, an internship can turn into a full-time job. So take some initiative and make the most of your Summer internship!
1. Dress to Impress
How you present yourself is important. Unlike being a permanent employee, as an intern you have limited time to show who you really are, so how you are perceived during your internship carries weight. As you get ready for your workday every day, remember that you are not going to the beach or a pool party. You are in a professional environment, so be sure to dress appropriately. Even if you see others dressed unprofessionally, make sure you maintain your level of professionalism. If you are not certain about the dress code, ask your immediate supervisor or someone in HR.
2. Always Stay Positive
No one wants to be around a negative Nancy or Danny downer all day. If you are normally the person who complains about everything, make sure you readjust that attitude and put on a smiling face. If you want to make the most of your Summer internship, it is important that you have a can-do attitude, stay positive, and bring good energy with you to the workplace. When you make people feel good with your presence, it makes them want to be around you more and look at you favorably. A lasting positive impression can do wonders for your career, especially early on. It is often said that people do business with those they like, and while this isn't a popularity contest, remaining positive will help shine a light on what matters, which is how awesome you really are.
3. Keep Company Business Off of Social Media
I know it's customary to tweet about everything you are doing or use Snapchat or Instagram to highlight the fun parts of your day, but it is imperative to realize that while you are an intern you should keep your company's business off of your social media accounts. Talking about your supervisor's fashion sense or how bored you are in the office will not help you make the most of your Summer internship. Even if your page is private, reserve your opinion for you and you only. Remember: anything you post on social media can and will be use against you in the court of public opinion.
4. Work Hard and Take Initiative
As an intern, there are basic things you have to do in order to guarantee your success. Those things include being on time, dressing and being professional, and taking on assignments without complaining. But who wants to be basic? If the goal is to stand out and make the most of your internship, then working hard and taking initiative is a must. That means not just doing what is asked, but going above and beyond to do the things you haven't been asked to do but that you know need to be done. Taking on an additional task that wasn't assigned to you shows that you are willing to do what it takes to help your team reach the next level and puts you on top of the "I like this intern" list. This also allows you to gain more experience than you would normally attain as an intern.
5. Make Key Connections
It is often said that "your net worth equals your network," which means that who you know can be equally important as what you know. With that said, while you are at your internship, it is important that you informally network with different departments to connect with those in senior positions who may have the power to employ you at a later date. Most people love to speak about themselves, so use this as an opportunity to learn more about them and what they do. Ultimately, these connections will be beneficial as your internship comes to a close.
6. Show Your Gratitude
Lastly, a verbal "thank you" can go a long way, but a "thank you" that someone remembers goes even further. When you are wrapping up your Summer internship, make sure to show your gratitude for the opportunity. A handwritten card, flowers, and/or small gift to your boss, mentors, and other coworkers who helped you will go a long way in them remembering you. It is usually the small things that people remember best.
Luvleen Sidhu is the president, cofounder and chief strategy officer at BankMobile, the largest and fastest growing digital bank in the country helping the underbanked, millennials, and middle-income Americans have an affordable, effortless, and financially empowering banking experience.