It's a common conundrum
for young professionals: you can't get a job without experience, but you can't get experience without a job. One way that many college students overcome the experience gap is by completing internships
, in which they learn the ropes
in a professional environment while building their portfolio
and making valuable networking contacts. Regardless of whether your internship is at a major corporation
or a small local business, there are some basic principles to follow that will ensure that you succeed and the internship coordinator
believes that you are a great intern
1.Treat the internship as you would any other job.
Take your assignments
seriously, even when it seems that you're doing busywork
. Maintain a professional attitude
2.Arrive on time, or a few minutes early. Strolling
in to the office late gives the impression
that you don't care and that you aren't serious about the internship or your career. And stay all day -- leaving early because you are bored or have other plans is unacceptable
Sweatpants and a baseball cap
are fine to wear to class, but professional office environments generally have dress codes
. When in doubt, err on the conservative
side. If you don't have a full professional wardrobe
yet, now is the time to start acquiring business attire
4.Turn off your cell phone, iPod or other electronics while you're in the office.
You may think that no one notices that you're texting back and forth
with your friends, but they do. Focus on your tasks and leave the socializing for after office hours.
5.Think twice before using social media to discuss your internship.
Some companies even have policies forbidding
interns to blog, tweet or discuss the company online. Be careful what you say online, as negative
comments can affect your standing with the company.
If you don't understand something, or need help, asking for guidance
is better than making a mistake. Asking questions demonstrates
your desire to learn, an important trait
in any intern.
7.Maintain a positive attitude, even when you're doing menial tasks.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and complaining about having to make copies or stuff envelopes
is not likely to get you to the top of the list for more interesting assignments.
8.Seek constructive criticism.
When you complete a task or project, ask for feedback
on your performance and ways that you can improve. Actively looking for learning opportunities creates a positive impression, and helps you continuously improve over the course of your internship.
9.Volunteer for extra projects, and seek opportunities to expand your experience. Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do; if you finish your work, ask for another assignment instead of wasting time.
10.Attend corporate events or informal get-togethers.
The annual golf tournament
may not be your idea of a fun event, but it could give you valuable face time with senior executives
or business associates who could become valuable contacts later on. Even a small birthday celebration in the office kitchen gives you a chance to interact with people you might not otherwise meet.