Here are a few tips that can help interns make the most of the experience (and if you have an intern working for you, this may help you coach them, too).
It’s not what you know; it’s who you’re LinkedIn with. But it’s not simply a matter of learning a name and sending an invite. You need to form a human connection before an impersonal computer connection.
Treat everyone you meet while working with courtesy and respect. The positive interactions you make today could be references or recommendations that will benefit you tomorrow.
What separates the interns who pass through anonymously from the ones who make a name for themselves? Preparation.
Smart interns spend time reading up on the company they’re about to work for. They monitor the social channels. They read about the company’s executives to find things they may have in common: schools, hobbies or organizations.
It may be summer, but do your homework!
Raise your hand
Do the job you’ve been tasked with but take the initiative to go the extra mile. Folding, filing, stapling and copying may be required. But then do more.
Raise your hand. Volunteering to stay late to work on a project that wasn’t assigned to you will show resourcefulness.
Keep a journal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s online or in a notebook as long as you document what you do every day.
Don’t expect to remember what you’ve learned three months from now – you won’t, and you certainly won’t have captured all the minute details. Periodically add the results of your efforts to your journal and online profile. Ask your supervisor or higher-ups for a comment or testimonial on your contribution – great for your LinkedIn page and also great for your resume.
Leave a lasting impression
In my career, I have had the gift and pleasure of working with interns who have left a lasting impression on me. They took the opportunity seriously, made a point to connect with me, and possessed impeccable follow-up skills.
I have loved their eagerness to learn and experience as much as they could, and I have also valued their insights and perspective on what they observed. If you are an intern this summer, make sure to express gratitude for the opportunity and your interest in being considered for a future position.
Will it result in an actual job? It may or may not; you never know where this journey will take you. Make the most of your current situation. I am confident that being “present” will make an everlasting impression that will open up numerous doors of opportunity.
Joanie Courtney is chief workforce analyst at EmployBridge.