With summer just around the corner, I thought I’d compile some tips on how to really stand out and be successful at that summer internship or job some of us are preparing for… Some of these are pretty obvious, but are still good to keep in mind, while others are ones that might not be quite as obvious, but can really draw positive attention to you and may even help with a future promotion or a great letter of recommendation.
- Ask questions. I know, this one is pretty clichée, but it is one that many people may be reluctant to do. You’re the new guy in the office, and so you don’t want to look like you don’t know what you’re doing. But, you’ll look far less foolish if you ask someone for a tutorial rather than being this guy:
2. Be willing to put in all the time you need to to do your job correctly. Being there (a little) early and staying (a little) late will show your boss or supervisor that you’re dedicated and take pride in doing the best work you can do. That being said, do not live at work just to impress your boss. You’ll end up overworked and exhausted, and then you will not be able to function at your best.
3. Act like a boss. Not in a conceited or snobby way, but make sure you’re always on time, dress professionally, and be prepared. You want people to say “Wow! I can’t believe that was an intern!” after they work with you.
4. Network! Even if you’ve already landed a job, that doesn’t mean that you can be done making connections. Pay attention to not only the higher-ups in the company, but also to your fellow interns or the other new hires. You never know which one of them could be a big help to you in your career later or who you may end up working with again.
5. Give people your full attention. Whenever you’re in a meeting or talking with a fellow coworker, make frequent eye contact and turn your body towards them to show you’re paying attention to them. Also, ask questions or paraphrase what they’re telling you so that they know you’re listening and comprehending what they’re talking about. In addition to this, make sure that you aren’t constantly checking your phone or otherwise multitasking, as this makes you seem uninterested in what they’re saying. It may seem like a little thing, but being known as a good and attentive listener will help build a positive reputation around the office for you, since people know you pay attention and will then get the job done.
6. Make sure others know about your accomplishments. This has to be done with a certain level of tact and finesse, otherwise people will think you’re just bragging. Making sure others know what you’re capable of doing and providing examples of when you did extraordinary work in the past shows your coworkers and superiors that you’re able to take on a new project and do it in a way that will reflect positively on the company and your team.
7. Be a problem solver. Anybody can complain about things they don’t think are being done correctly, but not everyone will actually take it upon themselves to devise solutions to those problems. Being a problem solver will show that you care about the long-term success of the business in addition to your own career.
8. Ask for and implement feedback that you receive. It can be difficult to ask your superiors how your performance on the job is, but without that feedback, you will be unaware of what you can do to improve your work. In addition to this, you need to be able to handle constructive criticism without taking it personally.
9. Avoid gossip. Make sure you know what is going on within the company as a whole, but do not use your break time as time to share all of the problems going on in the office with the rest of the staff. This makes it seem as if you’re looking for an audience rather than a solution.
10. Don’t over-apologize. Certainly apologize when you genuinely mess up, but don’t apologize for inconsequential, unimportant, non-egregious errors. Doing so can damage both your own self confidence and also the confidence others have in you.