Summer is almost here – the season of sun, fun, and internships. Though most would not consider internships an integral part of the summer, they remain to be an integral piece of professional experience.
Despite what you may have heard, internships aren’t just for learning those essential on-the-job skills (no, I don’t mean fetching coffee). They also allow room for learning about professionalism, collaboration, and leadership – all things that are incorporated into your personal brand. You may find it difficult to juggle the demands of your internship, keeping you brand active, and other summer activities, but there are ways to keep it thriving during these active months.
Making the most of your internship
If you have an impending summer internship, check out these four ways to make the most of your time for you and your personal brand:
1. Be Personable. You will be known as “the intern,” but don’t let it stop you from immersing yourself into the culture. Be sure to introduce yourself to your other coworkers. Don’t limit yourself to those around your desk – reach out to other colleagues in different departments and/or experience levels. Find opportunities to let others get to know and you and vice versa, like going out to lunch or on a coffee break. You’ll be on the way to establishing great connections that can benefit you even if you move on to other organizations or fields.
2. Shatter Expectations. Channeling the same idea above about breaking out of the intern mold, you’ll want to be an accountable and irreplaceable employee. Instead of waiting for assignments, ask if there’s something you can do or offer an idea. If a coworker has a lot on their plate and you’re not too busy, offer to help out. Before leaving everyday, ask your boss if there’s anything else that needs to be wrapped up. Going the extra mile in your internship not only improves your own work ethic, but also paints a picture to others about your brand’s reputation.
3. Dabble in Different Areas. The great thing about interning is that you more often find out what you don’t want to do in your career field. If you’re still not sure about which path to take, see if you can do tasks or projects from different functions of the company. This hands-on approach is surely the best way to form and figure out which unique skills create value in your brand.
4. Solicit Feedback. We all need to know if where going in the right direction at some point. Be sure to periodically ask for feedback about your performance and if expectations have been met. This way you’ll be able to assess and adapt if needed, and be self aware of your own brand and how it’s perceived by others.
Good luck, interns!