By Lauren Berger
Let’s be honest. You want to be the BEST intern this spring. You want to be the ONLY intern that your employer really pays attention to. YOU want to be the intern that gets offered a job at the end of the semester. Hey, it’s a competitive space — I understand. Here are some tips to help you really impress your boss and pimp out your spring internship:
1. Predict the Future. I know you’re not a mind-reader, however, it doesn’t hurt to think about what you will need, what questions you should ask, and what you should bring. The key is to be over-prepared so that nothing slips through the cracks. Students should ask their internship coordinator questions about parking, directions, hours, dress code, supplies needed, and how lunch works ahead of time. These questions should all be put together nicely in one email. You shouldn’t have to send your coordinator several emails. You don’t want to annoy them before your first day.
2. Pick Out Your Internship Uniform. Students often dress nice the first few days of their internship and then start to slack off. Decide what your internship uniform will look like. This does NOT mean you will wear the same thing each day, it means that you will put thought into what you wear. After all, the way you dress does impact your first impression. For girls, your internship uniform might include cardigans, slacks, pencil skirts, and business jackets. For the guys, it’s usually an array of ties, business suits (if required), and nice pants. You never want to include jeans or flips flops in your uniform. Once you decide what type of clothing you will wear, it will be easier to mix and match your options and quickly get ready for your internship. Dress properly from your first day until your last day.
3. Please, Ask Questions. I know that on the first day of anything, no one wants to be the one to speak up and ask questions. Get over that — quickly. I cannot tell you the amount of intern mistakes I have seen because of people that don’t ask questions. It’s normal for you to NOT understand how the company works during your first few weeks. Ask any question you have and if you employer seems annoyed, ask them who you can ask should you have questions. If your coordinator or boss has an assistant, that is the person who you should direct all questions to.
4. Talk It Out. Spring internships are wonderful but they can make your life pretty hectic with school, work, and/or other commitments. If your internship hours need to change, if you are working too late, if you need to study for a test — speak to your coordinator about it. You will find that most employers offering spring internships are quite flexible and will understand your issues. The only problem comes when you keep your frustrations inside and don’t express your concerns. Make sure to always be polite, speak properly, and be friendly.
5. Tuck Away Your Technology. Although I’m sure you look cool, I suggest keeping your Iphones, Blackberrys, Ipods, etc. out of your internship. You can have them in your pocket or in your purse but everything should be silenced the second you walk in the door. Even the vibrate function can be awkward when someone is explaining a task. Too many interns spend all day texting under the desk or Facebook-ing. Save that stuff for later on. It’s all a quick way to tell your employer that you have better things to do.
*For more internship advice, please check out my website, http://www.internqueen.com.