So you landed a summer internship – congratulations! Now that you’ve made the obligatory Facebook/LinkedIn post and changed that status to employed, you may be thinking about what you can do to make a lasting impression at one of your first big jobs.
And no, it doesn’t have to do with what you’re going to wear on your first day of work. At least not entirely…
As a job marketplace, we at WayUp have seen internships of all shapes and sizes. And after witnessing so many talented minds crush their summer internships and secure full-time jobs, we have identified five key factors that contributed to their success.
1. Engage, But Don’t Overwhelm
One very common mindset you might have going into your summer internship, especially if it’s one of your first professional experiences, is to engage and chat with as many people as possible. And while this is true, to a certain extent, you have to do so mindfully
If you are preparing to introduce yourself to someone or speak up, make sure you’re not doing so on impulse. Think it through and ask yourself if it’s really worth saying. Upper management doesn’t want someone around who is constantly asking questions or always contributing their two cents. So make sure what you’re saying really carries weight.
Think – does what you have to say contribute to the task at hand? Are you presenting a new angle or perspective? At the end of the day, people will judge you more on the quality of your thoughts rather than the quantity.
2. Dress to Impress
This next suggestion is really obvious when it comes to summer internships yet gets overlooked in so many ways. Depending on the company you’re interning for, what you are expected to wear will vary. So when you’re starting out don’t be afraid to ask your hiring manager what they expect you to wear and take note of what fellow colleagues are wearing to guide your wardrobe choices.
Another important rule to remember is not to let your wardrobe slack just because you’re remote or virtually employed. It is easy (and really nice) to go throughout the day wearing PJs but putting that extra effort into your attire, even in less than formal video conferences, will make a lasting impression on the people you work with during your summer internship.
Alongside a proper wardrobe, you should also strive to maintain proper hygiene. And it’s just the simple things! Brush your teeth, take a shower, and wear deodorant. No one wants to work with someone who smells bad. Plus, it might make it hard to get invited to the company happy hour.
3. Observe Like a Hawk
During your summer internship, you will be learning an incredible amount of information in an incredibly short amount of time. This being the case, you have to observe and digest every single piece of information and stimuli you see.
Is there a certain way your manager likes to receive deliverables? Make that your bible. Notice a certain employee receiving a lot of praise? Study what they’re doing and replicate it. Did you overhear the CEO’s assistant saying they only drink one type of super rare coffee from Peru? Go find some and secure your future job!
The faster you are able to pick up on things in your summer internship and adapt to your new working environment the more you will show your employer that you deserve a permanent position.
4. Volunteer for Everything
It doesn’t matter if it’s to pick up lunch, lead a new project, or squash a bug, if you volunteer for everything you not only become someone people can rely on but someone with experience as well, bug-related or otherwise.
Every time you take up a new task you get the chance to show someone that you can do something right. Naturally, responsibilities will grow and tasks will get more important as long as you’re doing them well. Eventually, those tasks could become recurring and make your importance at the company increase.
5. Send Authentic Follow-Ups
Depending on the size of your internship class, your manager and the active employees at the company you worked with are bound to get tons of follow-ups from former interns who want a job. So you’re going to have to make sure what you say really resonates with who you’re saying it to.
Maybe you have a certain memory of them you wanted to recount. Or something they taught you that you wanted to thank them for. Or maybe you just wanted to ask them for more advice. Whatever you’re doing, make sure it doesn’t sound like a copy and paste message.
It can be strategic to think of this while participating in your summer internship as it can lead to a more genuine and organic follow-up later on. So make sure you’re taking the time to form meaningful connections with the people around you.
Rinse & Repeat
Before you get that corner office, you need to get a full-time job, and before you get that full-time job, you’re going to need to make a lasting impression during your summer internship. So if you want to make sure you make it through try-outs, keep this list handy and read it before your first night of work.
Haven’t found a summer internship to show off how great you are just yet? Browse all our current openings here!