Around 75% of college students work in an internship before they start their first “real job.” These experiences can be tremendously valuable, providing young workers the opportunity to build skills for their resumes and meet people who are working in their preferred industry. However, adjustments can be difficult for those who have little to no experience in professional offices. Young professionals will need assistance from experts in the workforce(including parents!) to help them reach future goals. With that in mind, read on for a list of key strategies for helping your child make the most of their summer internship!
Be punctual, and go beyond
Show up on time (or early) in the morning, arrive for meetings before they begin, and complete tasks by their deadlines. Summer internships are for a short, defined period of time, so give it 110%. Be willing to get to the office early and stay late. As an intern, you are both a guest in a new environment and a colleague on whom others must rely — make sure that you respect those colleagues by being on time.
Complete each task with excellence
Whether an assignment is mundane or exotic, pursue it with relentless drive and a determination to exceed. Even if the project seems small or unimportant, do not give in to the temptation to complete it with anything less than your best, and don’t decline a project just because it doesn’t interest you. Repeated, enthusiastic, and excellent delivery of assigned tasks is the building block upon which everything else in your internship will rest.
Take on more work–without being asked
Use excess time to take on new and important work, assignments others don’t want, or projects that are needed but not yet clearly defined. In other words: when you see something you can do–do it. Sitting at your desk and scrolling through Twitter while you wait for someone to give you something to do is one of the best ways to not get an invite back for future employment. Deliver what no one is expecting, and you’ll not only be appreciated, but remembered and desired.
Research a topic thoroughly before asking a full-time colleague or manager for help. Look for the resources you need on internal websites, ask other interns, or research online before turning to your boss. You should never be afraid to ask questions, but you don’t want to make it apparent that you didn’t even try to look for the answer yourself. It’s critical that your colleagues view you as someone who is resourceful and independent enough to bring something new to the table, instead of just stopping every time there is a bump in the road.
Ask good questions
Following the previous point: the hallmark of an intellectually curious, diligent colleague is the quality of their questions. If you’re in a meeting, think of thoughtful questions you can ask to demonstrate you’ve prepared. Derive questions no one else is asking and as a rule of thumb, make sure you ask one or more authentic questions in every meeting you attend. Following this advice will hone your ability to ask questions that lead to real insight and will ingrain in you the essential habit of intellectual curiosity.
Build professional relationships
Internships usually last only a few months and your focus should be on the work and forming professional connections. Invite colleagues to lunch, ask them plenty of (good) questions, and offer to help where you can. Ultimately, you’ll create a network of contacts to utilize when you’re ready to find your next job.
Now that you’ve mastered these strategies, it’s time to prepare your kids so they’re ready to make college internship experiences the most fruitful and fulfilling as possible. Sharing this advice with your kids will get them ready and in the mindset for professionalism. If you or your children are seeking employment and want an even greater boost to your employability arsenal, turn to the experts at Oggi. You could say we’re accounting, finance and sales recruiters, but really we’re so much more. Take a look at our list of current opportunities, and let us help you find that dream career!
Note: This article uses information adapted from an original article by John Coleman for the Harvard Business Review. For more information, view the article here.