You Got the Internship. Now Get the Job!

Summer is finally here! If you are a college student, it was fun in the sun during May, but now it’s internship time. The internship and job market are competitive nowadays with students requiring internships earlier in their college careers to help build up their attraction to companies. But getting that coveted internship is half the battle. You haven’t won the battle until you get the offer to return again the following year – whether it’s a full-time job or an invitation to intern again. And everyone wants that offer – regardless of whether you accept it. As someone who has managed formal summer programs across some of Wall Street’s finest institutions, I have some suggestions to help you perform well this summer and get that offer!

 

Do a little spring cleaning: You’ve got some work to do before the internship. Take time to clean up your presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Check your pictures and comments to make sure its nothing your mother wouldn’t want to see. You are going to be meeting people this summer and establishing professional relationships, which may lead to “friend” requests. Make sure you are portraying the image you want to portray to your future employer and coworkers. If you need help, try Social Sweeper – an app that scans through your Facebook and Twitter accounts to help you identify those red flag comments and photos. Make sure you are also googling yourself and checking the images to ensure nothing surprising exists there as well.

 

Get on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is eliminating the need for business cards and hardcopy resumes. Get on it if you aren’t already on it. Add a picture, write some content, make connections and start building your professional social media presence. Everyone uses it now for networking, finding jobs, maintaining contacts, growing sales and finding new clients. Your college may have some great LinkedIn groups to join, which will help you build your network. Throughout your summer internship, make sure you connect with anyone you meet with on LinkedIn.

 

Make the effort with the team: You may be one intern joining a team of 2, 10 or 20. Your team will only have to get to know you while you’ll need to get to know 20 people. Ask for a team organizational chart or team roster and start taking notes about the people you meet to help you remember names. Make it a goal to get to know everyone’s name quickly and ask to set up time to get to know them. The more proactive you are in getting to know the team, the more eager they will be to work with you and get you involved in meetings, projects, etc. Be sure to get a good understanding of the team dynamics and company culture. For example, ask your manager about work hours as well as lunch practices.

 

Set up weekly meetings: Schedule weekly meetings with your manager for 1:1 time and feedback. You want to know at all times how you are performing during the summer. Make sure you are getting developmental feedback so you know what to work on during the summer. There should be no surprises at the end of the summer about the offer decision if you stick to these meetings and seek constant feedback.

 

Ask questions: All-star interns take the time to review the project, understand it, ask the right questions and work independently to complete it. It’s important that you understand what you are doing and how to do it. If you don’t, always ask questions rather than assume you know the answer or the right way to do it.

 

Go above and beyond: You’ll want to review with your manager the first week what your job entails and his/her expectations. Focus on achieving those goals, but also go above and beyond that. Seek stretch assignments. Does your team need an updated org chart if no one had one that first week? Does your team need updated procedures? Is there something they are doing that could be done better? Ask yourself all those questions and then go answer them. If you worked on a big project during the summer, ask to present on it at the end of the summer to your team members or senior management. It will show your passion for your work and allows you to exercise your presentation skills.

 

Be more than prompt: Let’s face it. You aren’t used to waking up at 5 or 6am right now. It will be an adjustment. Don’t be late for work, meetings, scheduled events, etc. Make it a habit to get to the office 20 – 30 minutes before your scheduled start time. That way you have a buffer for commuting issues, and you’ll have to a chance to catch up on the news or emails before everyone else gets into the office.

 

Document your achievements: Send your manager a daily or weekly email of what you did including a status of any ongoing assignments. Send one as an example to your manager and if they prefer it daily or weekly. It will keep you organized. It will inform your manager of how you are spending your time and progressing with your goals. Lastly, it will provide a good baseline for you and your manager for your formal performance reviews.

 

Network. Network. Network: Network with your team members. Network with other interns. If you are in a formal program, try to meet them for lunch or coffee breaks. Network with other managers. Find alums from your college at the company to network with (use LinkedIn if you need help). Build your network at the company and capitalize on your time to maximize your learning opportunities. Just be sure to keep performing in your job, and do not let networking negatively affect your performance.

 

Be a sponge: You are going to embark on a great learning experience. Not just in the actual work you’ll be doing, but by taking in the office environment, company culture, team dynamics and much more. Learn. Absorb. Take notes. Carry a notebook or iPad to write, remember and question. Taking notes and showing curiosity demonstrates your enthusiasm and your eagerness to learn.

 

These tips will help you regardless of whether you are working at a local marketing firm, a start-up in San Francisco or large financial institution in New York City. Enjoy the experience and learn all that you can!

 

Happy Summer!

 

An abbreviated version of this article was published in The Villanovan and at http://bit.ly/1bxuxQ7.

 

 

 

 

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Have you prepared for your summer intern yet?

It’s May. May means college students are returning home at the end of the school year. High school students are growing antsy with the warmer weather approaching. And many companies are planning informal and formal programs for their summer hires. As someone who ran summer programs across firms on Wall Street, this is an extremely busy time for companies with formal summer programs. They are planning orientation and training programs, finalizing placements, training managers, assigning and training mentors and planning a whole host of events throughout the summer for their summer hires.

 

Whether your company plans a formal or informal program, you should be preparing for your summer help. Defining projects, identifying tasks for them, designing a training or onboarding program and speaking to your team about their arrival. People have different names for their summer help: interns, summer analysts, summer help, summer hires, graduate inductees, fellows, college interns. Call them what you like. . . just don’t call them kids.

 

During my time preparing for a summer program, nothing made my skin crawl more than when someone called their intern a “kid”.

 

“When the kids arrive, we’ll make sure they all meet at. . . “

“Where should I meet my kid on his first day?”

“How should we manage these kids when they start to. . .”

“Can I give the kid a project on. . . “

 

That’s just a few of the phrases and questions I used to hear.

 

Yes, they look young. Most high school or college students do. Yes, they were born after you graduated from college or after Growing Pains stopped airing on ABC. But they are hungry to impress you, excited to absorb all they can about what “real life” is like as a working professional and eager to know if you anticipated their arrival as much as they anticipated starting.

 

Can you imagine the disappointment if they found out you referred to them as kids? How will your team members view them if they are referred to as “kids” before they even walk in the door? Treat them as if you would treat a new hire on your team. They may have a steeper learning curve to overcome as far as how to navigate working in the real world, but that’s the whole point of their summer experience. They are working for you to gain as much knowledge and information about what life would be like working as a full-time employee at your company.

 

So if you have summer help joining you in the next few weeks, here is my advice to you. Anticipate their arrival. Design an onboarding plan or training program for them. Prepare projects and assignments for them to work independently as well as contribute to the team’s responsibilities. Speak about their arrival to your team with information about your intern and their expected projects or deliverables. Introduce them around the first week and take them to lunch or coffee. Lastly, call them whatever you like: summer help, intern, summer analyst. Just remember, don’t call them a kid.

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