Exam season may only just be over, but it’s also the perfect time to be thinking about your summer internships. If you’re organised and prepared you’ve probably had your internship lined up for months already. And if you’re not organised, you REALLY need to get making some phone calls NOW.
Now that’s out of the way, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to impress while you’re at your internship and convince them that they can’t live without you.
Make a good first impression
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression’. And as well as pointing out the obvious, it is also a valid point. You need to make a good impression quickly while you’re at an internship as you don’t want to be remembered as the intern who made an inappropriate joke within their first twenty minutes in the office.
But it’s also really important to be yourself. “You can only fake it to a certain extent and people are going to know if you’re pretending. If there are two interns and the other one’s really extroverted and chatty but you’re naturally quiet don’t try and copy them,” advises Lydia Frempong, a trained confidence coach.
Wow them with your digital skills
You might find that the company you’re interning with have very little clue about all things digital. If that’s the case, this is your chance to teach them a thing or two. Obviously, a lot of your time at your internship will be spent learning from them but to be able to show them new things is only going to leave a good impression. “I don’t think you need to be able to speak the digital language as well as you speak English, but it’s good to have a base knowledge of how the digital world operates because so many jobs rely on at least a little bit about it,” Ben Plain, Think Big programme manager at O2 Telefónica says.
O2’s HR Director Ann Pickering adds: “Now is the time to capitalise on the fact that you have digital skills in abundance. Draw these skills to a potential employer’s attention and show why you think they are valuable.”
Do a good job with everything
Not everything that you’ll be asked to do will be the most exciting job in the world. There might be times when you’re just asked to pack some bags for an event, or to tidy up the fashion cupboard. But if you can do these without moaning about it, chances are you’ll be given better tasks later.
“Go above and beyond any simple request – so even if you start in stuffing envelopes, find out if you can add a cover sheet of a magazine in there too, or develop a new mailing list or database,” Roxanne Vickerman, Creative Solutions Manager at Bauer Media recommends. “It just shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond any basic task that you are required to do.”
There’s not much point in you being in the office if you don’t say anything to anyone ever. And don’t think that you don’t have anything valuable to add. As a young person you have a unique perspective on the world – and that’s quite possibly something that the company you’re interning for will want to know about. So speak up in meetings, even in those dreaded conference calls.
And as for speaking in conference calls, yes that’s scary but it’s also necessary. You don’t want people to forget that you’re there. But also you don’t want to be the annoying person who butts in at every given second. “Let people finish talking before you start,” James Patterson, a PR manager at O2 advises. “It’s hard to tell if people have finished so give a second’s pause just in case.”
The way that you’re going to learn on your internship is by asking questions. So take every opportunity to grill the people you’re working with – make them tea and ask them questions when you take it to them, grab lunch at the same time as them, even ask a quick question if you’re in the lift at the same time as them!
And even just while you’re working, don’t be worried about speaking up with a question. “If you don’t know something, ask,” says Rianna Raymond-Williams, founder of ShineALOUD magazine recommends. “People are usually more than willing to help you. I make it my priority to talk to anyone, wherever I am.”