College internships can be a crucial step in your career path. Internship experiences can help students get experience, build communication skills, find mentors, and get much-needed exposure to the workforce. Even if your internship with the company is brief, you can still leave a lasting impression.
Here are a few tips for internship success.
1. Set goals
Coming into your internship with a desired set of goals can be instrumental for your growth. Instead of just showing up and going along for the ride, have some tangible goals in mind that are attainable during your time with the company.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are you looking to get out of your internship experience?
- What skills do you hope to learn?
- How will you achieve these goals? What is your strategy?
Having clear, defined goals at the beginning will help you stay on track throughout your internship.
Additionally, you will be able to look back at your notes to see everything you accomplished when your internship ends.
2. Get to know your coworkers
You will naturally build a familiarity and relationship with your immediate team members, but it’s also important to get to know coworkers outside your department. By building these relationships, you can learn more about all aspects of the business and find what you truly enjoy. You will also build your professional network and set yourself up for potential job opportunities and connections down the road.
3. Be curious; ask questions
You won’t be expected to go into an internship knowing everything; in fact, that’s what the opportunity is all about. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, open-minded and confident as you learn. Use your voice, ask questions, take notes, and seize opportunities to expand your horizons.
4. Be present
The impressions you make are key. Present your most professional self throughout the entire internship. Be timely and efficient, and prioritize the tasks you are given. Being observant and mindful of anything that comes your way will show the company that you are adaptable and can handle the high speed of the corporate environment.
5. Express your appreciation
Taking on an intern can create extra work for team leaders. Acknowledging the time they are taking to teach you will go a long way. Handwritten thank you notes are always a great touchpoint. Be appreciative of the learning experience and the mentorship they are providing you.
6. Join in on the fun
Leaving a professional impression is very important, but leaving a personal one is, too. Don’t be afraid to show your true self during your internship; after all, most people like to work with people they get along with. If the company has any internal events during your internship, go! Enjoy the fun, and reward yourself. These teambuilding moments can go a long way towards leaving a lasting impression.
7. Be proud to wear the jersey
As one of Vaco’s most famous core tenets states, be proud to wear the jersey. Be grateful for the work environment you find yourself in, and embody that positive attitude outside of the office. Whether that’s telling your friends about the company, referring your network, or even publicizing your internship through social media. These efforts go a long way in showing how appreciative you are for the opportunity and the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
When you reach the end of your internship, you want to be able to look back and feel that you did everything you could towards building your career. How do you want to be remembered in your office during and after the internship? What impact did you make? The lessons you learn and the relationships you make during an internship can be invaluable for the duration of your career.
So, if you have an upcoming internship, follow these steps and you will be sure to make your mark! You got this!
By Molly Wilkinson, Summer 2021 Intern at Vaco in Nashville.