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How to Stand Out At Your Internship

Whether you’re a month into your big city internship or looking into plans for the fall semester, brushing up on internship etiquette never goes out of style. It’s often said that an internship is an extended interview, so it’s a time to stand out amongst your peers.

You’ll want to be the first person your supervisor thinks of when an entry-level position opens up after graduation. Not sure where to start? Read on for HC’s tips on how to be an incredible intern and leave your mark before you leave!

Show Your Work Ethic: Excel at the Small Stuff

Whether you’re making photo copies, getting coffee or doing other menial work, treat each project like you’re doing your dream work. If you’re genuinely enthusiastic and do an excellent job with the small tasks, your supervisor will begin trusting you with larger projects. Once he or she is impressed, it will be much easier to attach a certain memory of you to your name. You want your supervisor to think, “Oh yes, I remember Gennifer Delman! She did such a great job with “X.” That way you’ll be the first to come to mind when your dream job comes calling.

Show You Care: Always Keep your Supervisor in Mind

Even though intern horror stories exist, some supervisors are pretty amazing and will look out for you. Either way, it’s important that you keep your boss in mind when running errands. When I was sent to cover a Khloe Kardashian event for Seventeen.com, my lovely supervisor allowed me to grab lunch nearby before I returned to the office. I made sure to ask her if she wanted anything before I left and once I got there in case she changed her mind. It’s the small things that your supervisor will remember!

This also involves offering to help your boss out even when he or she doesn’t ask for it. There will be times when you’ve completed all of your work and have some downtime. Avoid typing Facebook into your web browser and shoot an email to your supervisor asking if he or she needs any assistance instead. Or, if he or she is all set, see if other superiors in your surrounding area could use a hand. That way you can expand your network and maybe they’ll send a positive message to your boss!

Show Initiative: Request to Attend a Meeting

Once you’ve established a healthy relationship with your boss, you should show sincere interest in his or her position and the company as a whole. Request to shadow him or her during a meeting to gain a closer look into his or her role and how the business functions. This shows that you’re not only interested in your specific area of expertise, but also in your company and the wellbeing of its industry. This will also help you decide whether or not you could see yourself as a full-time employee there in the future.

Show You’re Friendly: Ask to Get Lunch

This is an excellent time to discuss topics outside of the workplace to solidify a bond with your boss. Changing the environment helps conversation flow and eases any hierarchal tension you may feel.

Some GOOD discussion points: Music, Movies, TV, Sports, College, Food

Some BAD discussion points: Sex, Private Family/Friend Affairs, Relationships

Show You’re Involved: Stay Engaged

Adelphi grad and former Fueled by Ramen intern Catherine Rotella said she never wore headphones at her internship (and hers was at a record label!). “I didn’t want to appear like I was shutting anyone out,” she said. Follow in her footsteps, and make sure you’re completing your tasks with a smile, ready to do more!

Show You’re Ready to Learn: Ask for a Mid and End of the Internship Review

Throughout your internship, it’s a good idea to compile a list of tips/advice you’ve acquired throughout your time there. Ask your supervisor to evaluate your performance midway and at the end of your commitment. Requesting constructive criticism halfway through will help you improve during the rest of your experience. Do the same during your final weeks, too. This will help you on your future endeavors and shows your boss that you’re willing to learn and evolve as an employee and a person.

Show You’re Grateful: Write Thank You Notes

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: thank you notes are crucial in the internship universe! Taking the extra step to show your gratitude never goes unnoticed, so check out these tips for the cutest stationery and more. An actual card is a thoughtful gesture, so be sure to prepare a note referencing specific things you learned to hand to your supervisor on your last day. The experts at Ed2010.com recommend you give a note to each superior you worked closely with during your time there. “Write each one a message; the more specific you can be about what you learned from them or what experience they gave you, the better,” they advise. You rocked your first day, so make sure your last day is just as awesome

Show You’re Interested: Stay Involved Even After You Leave

Your supervisor may not mention it on her own, so it’s up to you to scope out opportunities to still be a part of your company even after you go. After interning there, HCer Divya and I continue to write for cosmogirl.com as freelancers. “I love writing from home and staying connected to CG and Hearst this way,” she said. Talk to other interns to brainstorm ideas, and then say this:

You: Hi Supervisor! I know my internship is ending soon, but I would love to stay connected to you and the company by helping out past my end date. I know that your department could use a little help with “X,” and I could definitely “Y” each week if you’d like.

So, that’s it HCers! Please keep these tips in mind while you intern, and then fill us in if they work well! Just don’t forget HC when you get your big dream job…

Interning at a big-time mag this summer? Sign up for ed2010.com’s “How to be a Kickass Intern” and learn more tricks of the trade from the professionals!


Divya Bahl, Her Campus writer

Catherine Rotella, Adelphi University senior

Ed2010.com, http://www.ed2010.com/2009/08/top-5-things-do-after-internship

Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.
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