Q. What are some tips to help my students quickly develop positive images at their internships?

May 24, 2010 at 10:48 am | Posted in corporate culture, Intern Support, Preparing interns | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. You’re so right to make sure your students generate great first impressions. An internship is the perfect place to learn the appropriate behaviors that will serve them well throughout their careers. Many career centers offer a mini-course for their interns on how to develop positive images at their internships. Although some of your interns may already be familiar with the following tips, a refresher course is always helpful: 

  • Dress for success is not simply a poetic phrase. It’s based in reality. You could review the Intern Certification Program on internships.com to see the accepted style in terms of clothing, hair, and accessories. If in doubt, take the conservative approach, staying with neutral tones and traditional hairstyles. Also check the company regulations for dress code. Still unsure? Imitate the dress of the other workers.
  • Arrive early. Getting to work about 15 minutes before everyone else creates an excellent first impression. When employees walk in and see you hard at work at your desk, they immediately conclude that you have a strong work ethic. They know you’ll be an asset to the team.
  • Complete your first projects ahead of time. How you perform on your first assignment sets the tone for your entire internship. Make sure that you accurately complete the project ahead of schedule. In fact, do more than what is required.
  • Talk about work. A good way to “fit in” to the office environment is to ask work-related questions, avoiding office gossip. You’ll be perceived as a real team member rather than a temporary intern. 
  • Offer to help wherever needed. When you finish your day’s assignment, ask your office mates if they need any help. “Is there anything I can do to help you?” is a good mantra to develop. Even if the answer is “No,” you’ll have created an image as a helpful person willing to take on extra duties to lighten the office workload.

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