Last Updated: Jan 1, 2016
Follow these rules to make your busy life as an intern a little less hectic—and impress your new colleagues.
1. Look professional
It goes without saying that first impressions are the most important. You want to look professional, not to mention appreciative for this huge opportunity, so you will impress your new coworkers. Dress comfortably and ready to be on the go if need be, but not casual like you would for class—this is not an old, baggy t-shirt environment. An old friend once told me, “Dress as if you could run into the Vice President of the company everyday”; that way you will always be prepared for when such an occasion does arise.
2. Ask for feedback
You are doing this internship as a learning experience, not just for the cash (if you’re lucky enough to get paid), and you want your employer to believe in your dedication and ambition. Check back with your boss every couple weeks to make sure they approve of your work. Another thing to always keep in mind if you want to impress your supervisor is to ask, “How can I help?’ whenever you have free time. Both of these actions show that you are focused on improving yourself and can take constructive criticism.
3. Always smile
Say thank you to the security guard and smile when you hand your boss their daily coffee. A bright smile shows you love what you are doing and have a “can-do” attitude. In Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he talks about how the individuals who are most easy to work with are also the one who makes the most connections and therefore friends. These contacts can help you in the future when looking for your dream job or even to add to your résumé.
4. No days off
This internship is an opportunity to explore your talents and possibly show them off to others. Something that will differentiate you from the next intern is if you consistently come into work with a positive outlook, no matter what. This shows your determination and work ethic, and it will be noticed. At the same time, if you go to work when sick (not, say, stomach virus sick, but a little sniffle won’t kill you or your coworkers), do not complain about it. Better yet, don’t complain, period. That will also be noted; no one wants to hang around the whining person who just wants to go home. It’s your job to help make the office a brighter place to be, and raining on everyone’s parade does the exact opposite.
5. Always check your work
I have learned from personal experience that sending the wrong e-mail to the wrong person is a very sticky and unprofessional situation. You may want to reply back with a “lol” but that won’t cut it in the adult world. Always check to make sure you have the correct correspondent, dates, and grammar usage. Errors will make you seem clueless and, even worse, careless.
Stick with these tips, and you’re sure to impress the people at your internship. Who knows, you may even land a job there after!