August 11, 2016

10 Tips To Be A Standout Intern

With the start of August means the end of most internships, especially for college students. I have gotten a lot of questions on my internship experience this summer, and how to make the most of the opportunity.
I went into college knowing I wanted to have 2-3 internships a year, and yes that's a lot but I wanted and still do want to learn as much as possible in my intended field, as well as gain networking experience.
Interning at Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler's district office
First off, congratulations on securing that internship that will help get you one step closer to your dream job! Here are some tips some friends and I have learned along the way on how to be that intern that stands out in the office.

1. Act as if this internship is a paying job.
Most internships are not paid, especially if it's one of your first, but don't let the non-monetization incentive stop you from putting your best foot forward and wanting to show your best work. Often times non-paying internships keep people from really putting forth everything they have because they aren't really getting anything out of it. Excuse me, but you are getting more out of it than you'll ever get out of money, you are getting job experience, networking opportunities, mentorships, connections anywhere and everywhere. Don't let the fact that you aren't getting compensated for your work hinder you from becoming the best intern that company has ever seen. Keep in mind you are doing this for YOUR FUTURE.

2. Ask questions and be an open book. 
Office environments can be intimidating and it's okay to be a little nervous, but remember you are here to learn, to understand your intended field better, and to really figure out if this is the area you want to pursue. That means asking intelligent questions and having an attitude of learning. It also means you are willing to hear new ideas and different ways of doing things. By asking questions you are showing the company and boss that you are serious (even as a college student) and have a desire to learn, and aren't just there to put something on your resume.

3. Take on projects to help you stand out. 
This is so important, especially if you know you aren't the only intern this company is working with. Do something, anything that will make you stand out as a proactive, detail oriented person. Even if it's just creating a filing system, that's a project the the staff members don't have to do now and trust me, they will be SO appreciative. Be creative and don't just do the bare minimum.

4. Say yes to office & social events. 
If you want to make those connections and show your dedication even as an intern, then go to as many office events as possible. From office parties, to campaign dinners, to dinner after work, you'll thank yourself later for saying yes. You'll get to know your colleagues better and even have an opportunity to practice your networking skills. Again, this will show your boss that you are willing to go the extra mile.

5. Get to know the other interns. 
It depends on your internship and whether all the interns come in on the same day. There were four other interns who worked in the same office as I did, but we each came in on separate days, so I really only got to know one intern. We really hit it off and had a great time working with each other. Take this opportunity to really get to know your fellow interns and there stories. Sometimes your best friendships and job connections come from internships. Don't be afraid to initiate that dinner or intern get together after work. Take full advantage of every opportunity internships give you.

6. Don't be afraid to pitch an idea.
Just because you don't have that degree or maybe have only completed one year of college (like I did), doesn't mean you can't think for yourself and contribute to the companies mission. Impress the heck out of your boss and voice that great marketing strategy. Again, don't just try and pass the time, work on gaining credibility.

7. Dress and act appropriately.  
First impressions are everything and this couldn't be more important for college interns to keep in mind. This doesn't mean you need to be shallow and only focus on your appearance, but keep in mind internships often times lead to jobs. You aren't headed out with the girls for a night on the town so don't wear skin tight or short skirts and dresses. Respect yourself and dress for the job you want.

8. Ask for letters of recommendation before you leave. 
If you are already putting forth the work and making an impression, more often than not your boss or fellow colleagues will probably already offer to write up a letter of rec for you. But in the case that they don't, don't be afraid to ask for one! You might even find yourself with more than one!

9. Keep in contact with those you worked with. 
Ask your colleagues, fellow interns, and maybe even your boss (if it's appropriate of course) for their phone numbers or FB request. Not only will this lead to friendships beyond the summer internship, but they might even recommend you for other internships or jobs. Connections my friends, connections.

10. Finally, send those thank you notes!
I think this is so important to leave that extra impression. Bring some thank you notes and cookies to the office on your last day to just say "thanks" for the opportunity and experience you had. Again, this will leave it on a good note for yourself and the company.

Did you have a summer internship? Any tips you want to share? 


  1. Girl yes!! Do everything you can to make a lasting impression. You never know when those connections will benefit you in the future.

    Sara Kate Styling

  2. Saying yes to office and social events is a great tip! Interning can be hard but worth it.

  3. I love that tip about treating your internship as a full time job! If you want to get hired or recommended for paying positions that is exactly the mindset you need to be in!

  4. Yes girl, making the first impression that last a while is key. I bet interning is a lot of work!!

  5. I've never had an internship, but these are great tips!


  6. Girl post, these tips will make sure you stand out!

  7. I definitely think that a thank you note is so important! I worked with a national news station when they were in my state for the primary elections, and before they left I wrote each one a thank you note and they were so appreciative and still remember my name!


  8. All of these are such important tips! The thank you note at the end will definitely set you a part!

    Greta |

  9. Great tips! In canada here we have paid summer co-op work terms so we have paid experience, but these all need to apply to your job!!

  10. These are great tips! I definitely think that one way to get the most out an internship is treating it like it pays. If people see that you're taking your responsibilities seriously, they will begin to take you seriously!

  11. Such great tips! I learned so many things from my years of interning that I now use in my career.

  12. So important to take advantage of all the office social and networking events! One of the younger employees where I interned took me under her wing, so I'd often stay late or work weekends to help her with her events. A few months later, I was offered a job there!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  13. This is so awesome in Canada we have paid work ops for my program but these are tips that I use every time!


  14. Great tips! I would add one: come early and stay late. In internships, you don't always have a ton of work to do so this might be hard to do without getting deathly bored, but it's a good way to show your boss that you're committed.
    XO Amanda |