Here at InternQueen.com,we just did our mid-way spring internship evaluation. It got us thinking about what things students can do to really stand-out at their summer internships. Here are a few tips – good luck!
1. Ask to Be Involved. One of our interns asked me if should could listen to a phone call I had with one of her favorite brands. I was impressed that she had the guts to ask me – I can only imagine how nervous she was! In this case, I felt it was fine for her to be on the call and take notes and observe the way I pitched our brand and carried the conversation. The worst thing I could have said would have been NO. Not only did this student stand-out to me by doing this but it also helped me identify other potential opportunities for her to listen to calls.
2. Create Organizational Systems. We give our interns a myriad of different assignments over the course of the semester. At one point, I was sending several of the same types of emails to one of our interns. She identified that an influx of these messages were coming through and created a way to organize and sort through them. She even created a Google Doc to keep track of the information. This student not only created an easier way for us to sift through these emails but showed me that she identified a problem and created a solution.
3. Have a “Can-Do” Attitude. One day this semester, two of our interns were on spring break, leaving one intern to handle everything for that week. Her hours weren’t increased but the workload was definitely heavier than usual. She could have chosen to be stressed out and negative in this situation but instead she lead with a “can-do” attitude. She even put in some extra hours later that evening to make sure everything was done correctly. As an employer, you want to work with people who make the day brighter and easier – you want to work with people that turn a potentially stressful situation into a positive one.
4. Let Your Supervisor Know Your Passions. All of our spring interns have requested personal time with me to ask for advice on summer internships they are applying for, interview advice, positions they are deciding between, and graduation advice. I appreciate this (as the employer) because it allows me an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with them by understanding what they are passionate about, where they might want to work/intern in the future, and what drives them. Use your resources.
5. Make an Effort for Valuable Face-time. If you have a virtual internship or an in-office internship, take every opportunity to get face time with your supervisor or other executives in the office. For example, two of our interns go to Rutgers and have a virtual internship with my company – meaning they intern from campus or their homes. Three of our Intern Queen executives are located in the New York area. It’s in the student’s best interest to request a meeting and get to know the executives in their personal time. Remember, you want to build below-the-surface relationships with as many people at your company as possible to get the most out of the experience.
6. Volunteer to Go the Extra Mile. The best example I have of this is that one of our interns from Rutgers told us from the beginning of the semester that she really liked writing and wanted to help with content. It’s one thing to say that and another to actually try to write for our website and brand. Over the course of the semester, this specific student has written 3-4 blogs that have been successfully published on our site. Don’t just talk about doing something – actually volunteer to do it.
7. Communicate Your Work Load. At most internships, some days are busy and others are slow. Make sure you are communicating with your boss or supervisor about your workload. Once you get in, communicate your to-do list and what you’ll be working on. If you are confused about what the priority is for the day – ask. At the end of the day, try to communicate what you spent your time doing. If you’ve run out of assignments, politely ask your supervisor if they need any help with anything? Explain that you’ve currently finished everything that was on your plate.
8. Ask About Timelines and Deadlines. When you are given an assignment without a deadline or timeline associated with it, just ask your supervisor if there was a specific time or date it should be completed by. If the project seems overwhelming you could also ask, “Is there a specific amount of hours I should aim to spend on this project?”
9. Ask for Further Explanation When Needed. When I’m busy, I’ll rattle off several assignments at once to the interns. If they don’t understand what I’m saying, I encourage them to speak up and ask the question. It’s no help to anyone when things don’t get handled properly and time gets wasted.
10. Don’t Let Projects Slip. When you aren’t clear on what an assignment is, it is easy to forget about the assignment or try to brush it under the rug. Make sure that when you are assigned projects you write them down. As I mentioned in the earlier point, if you have questions – ask. Many times when your boss reviews a project, he/she crosses it off their lists and expects the person assigned the project to provide status updates. Don’t wait to be asked.
For more internship advice and ways to rock your internship – read ALL WORK, NO PAY.