Summer interns: How can you stand out compared to those with more experience?
It’s always exciting to start a summer internship. While we do our best and work our hardest in this new environment, there will undoubtedly be interns who will have more experience than you. That doesn’t mean your efforts will go unseen. In fact, there are lots you can do to make yourself stand out, even as a less experienced intern.
Rather than worrying about where others have been, just focus on where you want to take yourself. Here’s how to shine during your summer internship.
Keep a journal.
Not of your internship tasks, but of your progress made throughout you experience. It may seem tedious at first, but keeping a journal will help you track what you learn each week. Mark any personal strides, reflections or team accomplishments. It should be something you can look back on later and say, “Wow, I really improved on these skills over the past few weeks.” If it’s something you want to show your supervisors but fee hesitant, simply type the main highlights in a tidy email, thanking them for the insight and knowledge you’ve gained throughout the course of your internship.
Set goals with your supervisor.
Think of them as the major points you want to put under your resume. Together, you and your supervisor should sit down and set meaningful goals you want to achieve as an intern. If this isn’t something in the works shortly after you start your summer internship, then request to meet with your supervisor to do so. These goals should have credible weight to them, showing that you took an aspect of the organization to an even greater level because of your work and dedication. Plus, you will stand out to your boss immediately by proving you can follow through on a commitment.
Listen a lot.
It’s kind of self-explanatory that no matter how much internship experience you have, you’re still at the intern level. Which is great, because that means you have a lot of learning to soak up. So get to it. Ask a lot of questions. Listen to your supervisors; stories of how they got to where they are. Look at what competitors in the industry are doing, and then share that with your supervisor. Pay attention to any trends or changes that could be helpful to your company. This will show you are interested in making the organization better overall while being attentive to what is expected of you as an intern. Learn what other interns are doing and see where you can be of help. Being an absolute sponge will help you stand out in a short amount of time.
Get the context of assigned work.
We’ve seen many interns just accept the work that is handed to them without even wondering what it is for, how it will benefit the company, or asking what their deadline is. Unlike your education, your internship won’t come with a rubric for every assigned task. So it’s important to get a grasp of the context of your work. If you’re doing a research, what bigger problem is your team trying to solve? If you’re creating collateral materials, who will eventually be reading them? Getting to know the context of your work will allow you to put more thought into your assignments, and will therefore make you appear a thoughtful team member to your supervisor.
What are some ways you stand out compared to those with more experience?