For a lot of interns, being seen at work can feel like an impossible task. Navigating the line between being assertive and annoying can be tricky when dealing with busy managers and stressed-out coworkers. This experience is magnified for those of us who don’t look like the people in our office and share dissimilar backgrounds. Nonetheless, making sure that you are remembered and well-known within your organization is essential in building your network and securing a return offer. We outlined some steps to help you stand out in a positive way at work.
Take the Initiative
Even the most dedicated manager may not have a ton of time to manage every aspect of your internship experience. If you’re worried about not getting enough face time with your boss, suggest a regular meeting time to check in with each other. A weekly or biweekly lunch or 30-minute coffee talk can be the perfect opportunity to discuss work topics and get to know each other on a more personal level. If you hear about interesting company events, ask if interns are allowed to come, even if they aren’t in your department. Internal meetings like those can be a great opportunity to meet people outside of your department. See someone you haven’t met in the kitchen area or in the elevator? Introduce yourself (your name, your department, and your manager) and strike up a conversation. Small acts of confidence like that stand out.
Everyone loves to give out advice to a willing audience. Know what they love even more? Finding out that someone has followed through on that advice. Reaching back out to a connection letting them know that you followed through on a suggestion or recommendation strengthens the relationship and imprints a positive image of you in their mind. This still applies even if you didn’t get an opportunity — the other person will understand that you may not land everything you apply for but they’re still invested in your eventual success. Saying, “Hi, _____. I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t make it to the final round but I really appreciate you submitting a recommendation. Thanks again!” will make it clear that you are interested in something more than just their name.
See How You Can Help
A senior leader at a previous internship once told me that “the secret to being the perfect intern is taking work away from your manager and team.” As an intern, you likely have a lot more flexibility during the workday compared to your full-time colleagues. If you find yourself with a lot of downtime or cruising (though not rushing!) through your tasks, ask how you can help take the load off of other people’s workloads. People remember those who helped make their lives easier. You might not always end up with the most fun projects, but your willingness to do what is needed (rather than viewing some tasks as mere grunt work) will be appreciated — especially when you need something later on.
Do. Your. Job.
The friendliest and most charismatic intern will be overlooked if they don’t do their work. Networking is important but remember to prioritize your work assignments — that’s why you were hired in the first place. You don’t want to be known as the intern who loved to socialize but never got their assignments done. Keep a daily checklist and go through it at the end of each day to stay on top of the work you’ve done and any work that is outstanding. Give your supervisor a status update on anything that falls in the latter category so that they aren’t left wondering and can also manage their own workflow.
Keep in Touch!
What’s the point of standing out during your internship if you let your connections fizzle once the experience is over? Making sure that former managers and colleagues remember you doesn’t require grand gestures: Follow them on social media or subscribe to company newsletters. If you notice they’ve landed new business, have been recognized for recent successes, or have completed any major projects, you can send a brief congratulatory email. Holidays are also the perfect time to get in touch in a simple way. The point is to show that you care about staying connected even when you aren’t asking for a job or recommendation.