It’s summertime, which means plenty of college students and recent graduates are taking on summer internships. While internships are a great way to learn essential job-related skills, they can also serve as the perfect opportunity to build your personal brand.
No matter where you’re interning this summer, any position at a company in your desired industry can help you to forge connections and practice professionalism. Follow these tips for building your personal brand at your internship this summer.
Go above and beyond. When you’re an intern, it’s natural to have to take a few extra steps to prove your value to the company and within your desired industry. In order to show your initiative, take note of when you have down time and ask your boss or colleagues if there’s anything they might need help with or any assignments they need you to complete. Volunteer to take on extra projects (but not more than you can handle!) Taking these extra steps will prove your dedication, and can even help you to receive glowing recommendations from your boss or colleagues when you’re looking for future positions in your field.
Get to know everyone. Introduce yourself to your officemates during lunch breaks or other social opportunities. Be sure to also forge connections with colleagues who aren’t working in your department, and consider asking them to show you a bit of what they do. Learning about the different components of the office can help you to gain valuable knowledge and skills in areas you might not dabble in on a daily basis, but could come in handy in the future.
Ask questions. Always show your interest by being unafraid to ask questions, whether it’s a question about an assignment you’ve been given, the history of the company, or how to break into your chosen field. The company you work at is sure to have a slew of professionals who are willing to give you career advice, so pick their brains! The more you know about your industry, the stronger your personal brand will be.
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Remember, internships aren’t just about completing assignments and building your portfolio—they’re also excellent opportunities to forge relationships, gain valuable knowledge, and prove your value in your industry. Good luck, interns!
What are some other ways you can be sure to enhance your brand during an internship?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.