Finals and studying are long gone as we’re a few weeks into summer break, and many students are transitioning from eat-study-sleep-repeat to the working world. If you’re starting your internship soon or have already started, congrats! Your internship is going to give you an opportunity to learn new skills, make connections and get hands-on experience taking what you’ve learned in your classes and applying them to the real world. You’ll be the “new person” in the office and will already have enough on your plate figuring out what your assignments are, who the person in the next cube is, and where to eat lunch. But let’s throw one more thing into the mix: building your professional image at your internship.
Your professional image is the reputation you set for yourself in a professional environment encompassing your skills and personality as they’re related to work. It’s how your coworkers, boss, or clients will perceive you. It’s what you say, do and write. So, yeah. It’s kind of a big deal. Stand out as a stellar intern by following these 5 tips to building a professional image during your internship:
- Be Punctual. Follow the mantra “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” And respect other peoples’ time by being on-time to meetings or events. Running late because your alarm clock didn’t go off, or you’re stuck in traffic? Let your supervisor know. Things happen, it’s how you respond to them that matters.
- Dress for success. Abide by your company’s dress code policies and wear clothing that shows you want to be taken seriously and are ready for the job ahead.
- Be prepared. Nothing says “I’m here to learn” like bringing a notebook and pen to meetings. It show’s you’re expecting to take something important away from the conversation, including new tasks or responsibilities. And it beats the middle-school method of writing on your hand.
- Be a self-starter. The organization where you’re interning has invested in you this summer through time, training, compensation or all of the above. Show them their investment will pay off by taking advantage of every opportunity to do work. If you’re coming to a lull, have a light workload, or just a great idea – share it with your supervisor.
- Not just by sending a LinkedIn request (which you also need to do) but by grabbing coffee with fellow interns, asking your supervisor about their career path, and making small talk with colleagues. Get to know the people around you, you never know what you could learn or how they can help you down the road.
Want some more tips? Stay tuned for another 5 ways to build you professional image in a later blog post.