The easiest way to land a job after your internship? Show the boss who’s boss. Sure, they gave you a place to work over the summer, but they’ll be lucky if they have a place to work once the summer is over. Why? Because you’re destined to dominate. You’re ready to turn your cubicle into their corner office, with or without pay.
The grunt work — you know, fetching coffee and photocopying — doesn’t fall on your shoulders anymore. You’re the one wearing the head honcho’s pants now. And not just any pants, but ripped jeans, because now that you’re in charge, the office dress code has changed from business to casual.
Pile the work on everyone else’s desk, and then start assuming they’re all incompetent morons. After all, they didn’t soar from the internship seat to the CEO role. Only you could do that. And why don’t you start over promising to your clients and then under deliver? The word on the unsuccessful streets is they love that.
Actually, do the opposite of all of that, or so claims career service professionals from around Greater Boston. They really know what it takes to make the most out of your internship, and here’s a taste of what some of them had to say.
From Andrea Dine, Associate Director of Career Development at Brandeis University’s Hiatt Career Center
Make a good impression — Remember you are representing Brandeis in all aspects of your life, from your email and cell phone use to your behavior, language and wardrobe.
Embrace the grunt work — It’s not all glamorous, but think big picture and consider your impact on the project and/or organization.
Ask for things to do — Supervisors may not be aware of how quickly you can complete work, so propose project ideas.
Network — Meet people at all levels of the organization, in many departments. Tell them your story; learn about their experiences and career paths. Ask for advice, and establish basis for future references.
Supervision — Ask for regular meetings and feedback. Be a good listener, and absorb and incorporate information. Progress on learning goals, be assertive and communicate your needs.
Megan Houlker, Director of Babson’s Undergraduate Center for Career Development
Start building your brand from day one.
Keep an internship journal. You are going to be learning a ton of new information. Write it down — new terms, expressions, job titles, people, answers to all those questions — write it all down.
Be genuinely helpful, and take it a step further. Do not just ask what can I do to help. Identify how you can help.
Be a participant in the success of your internship. It is not just up to the employer to give you a good experience. You need to create it.
Colleen Murphy, Associate Director of Undergraduate Career Services at Bentley University
Let’s start with mindset. All students should enter their internship with excitement and be confident that they are well prepared to take on various assignments. Remember, you want to do your job well with a professional attitude and produce an excellent work product; you want to make a winning impression. First and foremost, approach your internship with a positive attitude.
Stay away from the office gossip. As former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
When the day is over, don’t run out the door. If you know your department is working on a project and others around you are staying late, see if you can pitch in to help. Your co-workers will appreciate the gesture, and you’re going above and beyond.
Be prompt to scheduled meetings. Don’t forget to attend meetings with your pen and paper in hand. Listen closely to who is speaking and quickly you’ll observe the point person on certain projects and the different roles people have within the department and within the organization. It’s important to be aware of the hierarchical structure with an organization.
Deadlines exist for a reason. Pay attention to all deadlines. It’s awkward to inform your team that you have taken too long on a specific task and that the work will not meet the deadline.
You should build in a check point around the middle of your internship. Check in with your supervisor or assigned mentor. Let them know how much you are learning, that you’re enjoying your internship experience and open up a discussion about your future career goals. They, in turn, will keep the conversation in mind as they take on more clients and more work. They know you’re interested.
Eleanor Cartelli – Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at Boston University’s Center for Career Development
Maximize your time at an internship. Talk with your supervisor ahead of time to establish goals for the length of time you’re there.
Don’t be passive and wait for work to come to you. Stand out by taking initiative on projects and volunteer to be a part of projects that you’re really interested in.
Get to know the company inside and out so you can be a go-to resource for information.
Michael Gaskins, Interim Director of Career Services at UMass Boston
First and foremost, you need to have an awareness of the importance of the internship.
Take on special projects, but don’t take on too much and assume you can handle everything.
Leaving that last impression with colleagues and employees is also crucial, because they can generate recommendation letters or leads.
And I wouldn’t recommend going in the first week and trying to restructure the company.
Photo Courtesy of Take the Interview