Image Credit: Flickering Myth
As college undergraduate students, the thought of full-time internships or jobs can be borderline terrifying. Semesters allot time off between summer and winter breaks, allowing for endless Netflix binges and zero stress. The “real world”, however, is filled with never-ending work, adult responsibilities, and a maximum of 14 vacation days. In these professional environments, it’s difficult for young adults to navigate the proper procedures necessary to succeed. After completing two full-time, ten week internships throughout the course of my college career, I can confidently say that I learned countless lessons in how to thrive during a summer internship.
Keep Emails Concise & Professional
Looking back on the first few weeks of my most recent internship, I shudder at the thought of the emails that I sent other employees. A lot of millennials write emails as they would text messages: with excessive exclamation marks and emoticons. I suggest only using one or two exclamation marks maximum in any email and only rarely use smiley faces, unless you know the recipient extremely well. Overusing either of these can be perceived as incredibly unprofessional, especially if you’re contacting someone you have yet to meet in person.
Stay Curious, Ask Questions
With both of my previous internships, I was initially timid when asking my bosses questions. Whether it was clarifying an assignment or just wondering something about the company out loud, speaking up seemed annoying to me for one reason or another. In reality, however, bosses appreciate an employee more when they ask for elaboration as opposed to doing a project incorrectly the first time.
Don’t Go On Facebook
Avoid distracting social media sites at all costs. It can be tempting to quickly check the latest Tasty video or share a post to your friend’s wall, but bosses definitely notice when their interns are distracted. It’s obvious both in the moment and when assignments aren’t getting handed in on time. When I felt like I was hitting a wall, I walked around the office once or twice to briefly get a change of scenery before tackling my next task.
Speak Up, Give Feedback
Being the new member of any organization makes expressing opinions extremely intimidating. The first few weeks of my internships I didn’t want to make suggestions for fear of seeming overly critical. I would sit in a corner during meetings avoiding being noticed, and I remember panicking when the director of my team would ask me questions. During an evaluation with my manager, he told me he wanted more input from me in terms of what could be done better with my internship and even company procedures. As long as you address the situation appropriately and in the right manner, your boss will recognize your willingness to make a positive impact and contribute to the company.