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You’ve landed an internship. Now you want to be amazingly successful—paving the way for rave recommendations that lead toward a great full-time job and ultimately, a successful career.
With all the interns in the workplace over the summer, you’ll be compared to others and you’ll have plenty of people who will learn about you and your talents. Here’s how to ensure they become your biggest fans and supporters, and perhaps even invite you to work with their company for the long-term.
First, be realistic about your expectations. Companies and leaders should provide meaningful work and value your contributions. But it’s also important to recognize that not all of your work will be the stuff of dreams. Every career has tasks that are more and less satisfying and yours will too. Be willing to do work that is less glamorous. Handling the less interesting work graciously will send a message about your character and your work ethic which will pay off in terms of others’ impressions of you.
You bring fresh perspectives and new ideas which are tremendously beneficial to companies. But nothing is more annoying than an intern who thinks they know it all (there’s even a name for this cognitive limitation: the Dunning-Kruger Effect). Find the right balance of sharing your perspectives, but also listening and learning from others. Be confident and speak up. But do so in a way that respects the years of expertise the people around you bring. They’ve built success over time and while your suggestions have value, every statement will most likely not represent pure genius. Demonstrate humility and avoid being overconfident.
Build Your Network
In addition to learning about a job, a company and an industry, you also want to build your professional network. Don’t be afraid to suggest coffee or get-to-know-you meetings with key resources within the company. Most people are happy to share their perspectives and advice. Reach out and make connections to learn and obtain guidance from experts in your field and the company generally.
With your fresh eyes, you’ll see opportunities for improvement or problem solving that others may not. Do the work you’ve been assigned brilliantly, and in addition, don’t be afraid to make suggestions and volunteer to help with additional projects.
Ask For Feedback And Coaching
Ideally, you’ll have some autonomy and choices in the way you do your work or complete your projects. But don’t make the mistake of going off on your own and re-emerging at the end of the summer with a completed set of tasks. Stay close to your boss and coworkers to ask for feedback and obtain input on your efforts. You don’t want to be high maintenance but do be sure to keep in touch and take advantage of the guidance experienced experts can offer.
Take A Long-Term View And Commit Fully
Far from just a summer assignment, an internship builds the skills and experiences you’ll call on forever. Dive into the work and the company. Don’t hold back because the assignment is short term. No matter what kind of experience you have, it will be beneficial. If it’s less-than-stellar, you’ll learn what not to do when you’re a leader, and if you have a great experience, that’s even better. The internship will be great resume content and you’ll create connections that can last you a lifetime.
Overall, demonstrate gratitude and do good work. An internship is a perfect opportunity to try on a job or career, learn deeply and have some fun while you’re building your professional network and your professionalism.
June 3, 2019 at 07:31AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs