How to Stand Out in an Internship (in a Good Way)

By Cassidy Camp on September 16, 2017

You scoured every website that has classifieds, university sanctioned or not; you freshened up your resume for the first time in so long that you forgot about some of the things that you listed; you found that perfect company that you’d love to work for (if you’re getting “experience” instead of the means to support yourself in return for your work, you have to love it); you took trip after trip to the career center until they said that your cover letter was flawless; you applied and breathed a sigh of relief over your glass(es) of wine, and after the most stressful interview of your young adult life, you landed an internship! Congratulations!

Finally, the worst is over. Now that you’re in, you have two choices: 1.) you could do the minimum of what is required of you to get class credit for your internship, or 2.) you could strive to be a rockstar intern that will 100% deserve the letter of recommendation you ask for at the end of your time with the company. Though there’s nothing necessarily wrong with option 1, we’re going to talk about some ways to get you to option 2.

The number one absolute most important thing you need to stand out at any company is a positive attitude. It sounds like a no-brainer, right? The kicker is that your “positive attitude” must be authentic. You may think you’re the greatest actor in the world (maybe you’ve even worked a customer service position before), but if you’re truly a negative Nancy while you act like a Sally sunshine, you may come off fake and sometimes sarcastic. Plus, trust me, your boss and coworkers notice. Some easy ways to maintain a true positive attitude, even on bad days, is to manage your time well, keep your stress in check, and communicate with your coworkers when you need help. After all, you are an intern, and no one expects you to have all the answers right away.

In my experience, a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd is to constantly aim to prove that you really value your position and responsibilities. Remember that you were just another resume in an inbox at one time, but the company chose to hire you. Make your boss proud that they hired you by taking initiative and going the extra mile when you can. Come in early and stay late, work hard and ask for more tasks if you run out of things to do, put in your best effort always, and realize that your work reflects upon you. Your reputation is earned, so do everything you can to earn a glowing one.

Internships can feel stressful and scary because they’re often a culture shock into the real adult world after our food service and cashier positions, but they’re nothing we can’t handle. It’s important to realize that you’ll get back whatever you put into the internship experience, so why not make the most of it?

Cassidy is a dual degree student at FSU in the Humanities and Editing, Writing, and Media majors. She is a bibliophile and bookworm, and you'll often see her walking to class with her nose between pages of a book. Music is an important part of Cassidy's life; she's a vocalist and a songwriter in her spare time. Cassidy aspires to attend a Master of Communication graduate program after graduating FSU and, once finished with school, strives to enter the Public Relations field professionally.

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