As I read The Branding Muse’s article about interning over Winter break, I flashed back to my senior year in college, when I sacrificed my winter break (and warm Atlanta weather) to intern with my dream company: SEPHORA. While some thought I was crazy, spending my four-week break working eight-hour days and waking up at 5:30 AM, I saw it as the ultimate opportunity to get my foot in the door. And, if you look at the company where I’m employed now, that sacrifice certainly paid off, and is one of the best decisions I made in college. Let’s be clear: landing a Winter break internship is no easy feat. Taking on an intern is a big time investment for a company, and most companies don’t think it’s worth the effort to bring someone on for just a month, so if you get a company to take a chance on you, you’d better show up and show out.
Here are five ways to make the most of your and your short-term employer’s time.
1. Be punctual.
Time is relative, but I tend to follow the mantra, to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late. Showing up on time shows you’re serious about your opportunity and that you’re dependable – traits your colleagues will consider when assigning tasks.
2. Be committed.
You’ve decided to forego your holiday break – no turning back now. Show up everyday with passion and a smile, ready to work. Execute any assignments that are sent your way, and whenever you can, show some initiative by going the extra mile.
3. Volunteer for tasks.
Don't always wait for someone to assign you a task, be proactive and seek assignments – even if it’s something no one wants to do. This shows that you are eager to learn and contribute, and are a self-starter – all traits employers look for in full-time employees. Additionally, volunteering shows that you're not afraid nor above any task, and will encourage your colleagues to assign you more of the good stuff in the future (and given that you only have four weeks, time is of the essence).
4. Think before you ask (but don’t be afraid to ask).
One of the main purposes of an internship is to learn. The professionals around you know that you are new to the field and they don't expect you to know how to do everything all the time, so you should ask questions. If you need clarification on how a task or project should be done, ask. However, if something can be answered through a little research, try to exhaust all resources before asking a question; after all, if you spend 75 percent of your internship asking questions, you’ve only spent 25 percent working, and you can’t put “asked questions” on your resume.
5. Voice your ideas.
You're new to the office, which means you're an additional mind and voice for creativity. Don't be afraid to appropriately express your ideas to your colleagues. Even if they don't choose your idea you may spark a train of thought that puts them on the right path. If they do choose your idea, you’ve gained some additionally credibility and another notch on your resume. Either way, voicing your ideas will show your colleagues that you’re more than just your skills – you have a brewing mind, too.
If you show up and show out as outlined above, you’ll make the most of your internship and leave a mark on your supervisor and team. Who knows, you might be back a few months later for a longer, summer internship. And if you’re a senior, like I was when I interned at SEPHORA, you just may get a job.
About the Author
Brittnee Anderson is a prestige beauty marketer in New York City. She writes about business, networking and other things that interest her on her own blog, p[her]spective. You can get in touch with her via Twitter or LinkedIn.