10 Ways to Position Yourself for Success at your Internship
1) You can’t wear the same clothes you wear to school- BE PROFESSIONAL Welcome to the longest interview ever, your summer internship. As with any interview you need to dress the part, have a killer handshake and an elevator pitch! Coaching tip: If you look good you will feel good, invest in some great business casual clothes. Learn how to write a professional email and leave a great voicemail.
2)“A goal without a plan, ain’t nothing but a wish”- BE DRIVEN Have a goal for the summer besides getting the job. Create your own professional development goals like learning Excel or improving your presentation skills. Coaching tip: A career that is self directed feels a lot more fulfilling.
3)Your style is not the only style- BE FLEXIBLE Interns are always too scared to ask their new boss what their expectations are and it leads to them walking around on eggshells all summer. There is nothing wrong with having a conversation about expectations and communication styles. Coaching tip: We don’t all communicate the same way. Know your style and get to know your boss’ style. Ask for feedback. Great communication requires compromise. If your boss wants a conversation instead of an email, you must flex your preferred style to get your message across.
4)Defy the stereotype that you are entitled to the corner office- BE WILLING You will have to do a lot of grunt work before you can do the fun, cool, interesting work. Take this work seriously. Do your best, it is a very important part of the process. Coaching tip: Be open-minded. You never know where a little project could take you. A positive attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference! It will pay off!
5)Success doesn’t happen alone- BE FRIENDLYKnow who is who in case you run into an executive in the hallway. Smile and introduce yourself. Careers are built on relationships and this is a great time to meet a lot of people who may help you in the future. Coaching tip: An internship isn’t just about doing good work; it is also about integrating yourself into the company and playing well with others. Seek out opportunities to network. Practice your handshake.
6)“There is something wrong with my computer”- BE HELPFUL Every single person in the company is going to think that you are an IT expert. They are going to assume that since you are younger and in college that you love technology. Coaching tip:When someone complains, they’re really asking for help. Offer it. Be a resource. “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, What's in it for me?”
7)Fear is always the first step- BE BRAVE Everyone is scared at the beginning. If you are afraid it means you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and that is a great thing! The more you practice, the better you get! Coaching tip:Don’t let fear stop you from trying something new. If your dreams don’t scare you than they are too small. Do something that scares you!
8)Do not expect work to come to you- BE PROACTIVEYou must go out and find your next project, do not wait around! Do not expect your boss to assign every task. It is YOUR job to find how you can add value. Coaching tip: Seize every opportunity, raise your hand for projects. Step up and exceed expectations. If you identify a problem or stumbling block, don’t stop there- offer a solution as well.
9)It is the interested ones who go far- BE CURIOUS There is a lot to learn and everyone has more experience than you, spend your time asking questions and being interested rather than showing off. Let your work speak for itself. Coaching tip: Don’t be afraid to offer up suggestions but don’t take it personally if they are not immediately considered. Know the difference between being curious and a nuisance.
10) Do not worry about what everyone else is doing- BE YOURSELFLearning how to be yourself AND professional is a tough balance to strike. When meeting new people in a corporate setting, a great rule of thumb is to be on your best first date behavior. Coaching tip: You can be yourself without telling everyone everything. Don’t air your dirty laundry or get too personal. Be conservative in your approach. This is your opportunity to highlight the best version of yourself. You’re in Charge!