How to Intern like a Boss and Prime Yourself for a Future Position

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By Lydia Gregovic

You resume-d, emailed and interviewed your way into your dream internship. Congrats! Right now, your inbox and texts are probably flooded with career tips from family and friends alike. While your relatives mean well, it can be hard to know whose advice to listen to — and let’s be honest, the working world has changed a little bit since Aunt Carol got her first job in 1984. Lucky for you, we’ve been there, we understand, and we’ve got the tips to make sure that the hardest part of your first day is finding a parking spot.

Leave the Phone out of sight

Ever been underwhelmed by a date who spent the entire evening glued to their phone? Much like bad dinner behavior, scrolling through your socials while on the job can send the message to your employer that you’d rather be anywhere but there. To nail your first impression, keep your phone in your purse while you work — we promise, it will make all the difference and help you avoid any temptation.

Dress for the Job You Want

Maybe your professor won’t mind if you roll up to your 8:30 AM in pajamas, but in the professional world, a little effort goes a long way. Dress codes can differ from company to company, so be sure to ask your employer if you need to stock up on blazers or if a nice pair of jeans is fine.

It Never Hurts to Ask

When you’re just starting out, it’s natural to feel out of the loop. If those worries start to arise, take a deep breath and remember that everyone — and yes, that includes your supervisor — was the new kid on the block at some point. Asking questions doesn’t make you a failure; in fact, it actually shows those around you that you’re truly interested in your work and want to do the best job possible.

Know Your Audience  

While conversation is a great way to get to know your new coworkers, make sure your small talk steers clear of any PG-13-rated topics. Your Saturday nights are a perfectly appropriate subject for brunch with your besties, but your project manager might prefer to be spared the details. On the flip side, any work-related talk, especially confidential information about new projects or clients, is better off left at the office.

Push Your Limits  

This is your time to shine! Do you have an idea on how to improve a project? Or maybe a fresh new perspective on an old problem? Remember, you were hired because someone believed in you, so ignore the little voice in your head telling you to stick to getting coffee and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Doing the bare minimum may get you college credit, but it’s the extra work that will earn you the future job offer you’ve been dreaming about.

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