Summer internship season is around the corner — a time to learn, make connections, explore a potential career path and work towards a job offer. Making yourself a standout intern, or a “super intern” as we fondly call them at Mfa Marketing & PR, is critical if your end goal is an invitation to come back in a permanent role. So, what are the traits of a super intern? Three of our full-time staffers — each of them a former super intern — sat down to talk about their own tried-and-true tips for turning an internship into a job.
Weighing in are Vice President Samantha Lacher, Account Executive Brody Gordon and Digital Marketing Analyst Jay Cariero. Their perspective spans internships over 12 years, three practice areas and three different career stages. The end result? A list of 10 must-dos that all three staffers landed on independently, plus two bonus suggestions that stood out at the VP level.
1. Be Tidy
A neat workspace is essential for your organization, for leaving a good impression on the people around you and especially in an environment when clients may be in and out of the office at any time. This tip transcends your workspace and computer desktop. Even in a casual work environment, keep your appearance tidy too. Remember: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
2. Be On Time, and Don’t Rush Out the Door
No one will notice if you are on time, but everyone will notice when you are late. Trust us. At the end of the day, we highly recommend checking in with your supervisor a few minutes before you’re planning to head out for the night to see if there is anything else you can do that day. Chances are, your supervisor will not toss a new assignment on you 10 minutes before you’re due to leave, and they’ll definitely remember that you asked. And, in a circumstance where they really might need a little extra help, showing you are willing to go the extra mile is a good way to make yourself an indispensable part of the team.
3. Share Your Ideas
If someone is asking your opinion in a brainstorm, or just on the spot, do not be afraid to give them your best answer. Although ”I don’t know” may be at the tip of your tongue and feel more comfortable than putting yourself out there, trust that your team asked for your thoughts because they truly want your insights. Even if you don’t think your idea is the one, remember that you very well may spark a conversation that leads it.
4. Keep Up With Industry Trends
Read, read and read some more. Industry newsletters, trade publications, relevant business articles. Share your findings with the team. Chances are, you have more free time to read than they do.
5. Be Friendly and Social
This one is more important than you may realize, and it is not just about making the office environment a little more enjoyable (that part is a bonus). It’s important to make personal connections with your coworkers because if they like you, they’ll be more likely to want you around over the long-term.
6. Take Pride in Your Work
Reread for typos, be excited about your assignments and take ownership.
7. Carve Out Time With Full-Time Staff (Besides Your Manager)
Get to know other people within the department and more broadly at the company where you are interning. If your current team does not have a full-time position available at the end of your internship, having these connections can open doors for longer-term opportunities. This can be as casual as going out for a coffee or as formal as asking for a meeting. Use this time to ask about their career trajectory and find out what they love about their job.
8. Take Advantage of Opportunities
Show you are committed by participating in events, brainstorms, classes and office extracurricular outings, even if it means skipping out on a workout with your summer roommate or not meeting up with the friends visiting from out of town who are taking advantage of a free place to stay.
9. Be Resourceful
Entering a new work environment can be intimidating, especially when everyone around you seems to be able to do what you are doing in their sleep. When someone asks you to do a task that you have never done before, take on the challenge and try your best to be resourceful and figure it out. If you hit a hiccup in the task, ask for direction — that is why you are there! While asking questions shows you are engaged, try to find a solution (when in doubt, Google it!) to show you are being proactive.
10. Come Prepared and Be Present
Being prepared is an essential part of being an intern. Always bring something to write with and on. It is always good to be prepared, both physically and mentally. The more you put into your internship, the more you will get out of it.
Stay off your phone. Was that a gasp? No matter how much work you are cranking out, your supervisor will notice if you are constantly scrolling through your feeds. Keep your attention on the task at hand.
Immerse yourself in your location. This is a good way for you to make sure your internship is in a place you would be happy actually living long-term, and gives your team proof that you could easily transition into a full-time role, especially if you are from out of town.