"Hello again," the Starbucks barista says to you as you hurriedly slam the list of the latest orders on the counter. "Do you need help carrying this?" he or she asks, to which you reply, "No, I think I've got it," as you wipe the sweat from your forehead, already stressed before breakfast.
It must be the second week at your internship — a necessity in today's world. Nowadays, internships are essential for a successful post-graduate career; in fact, they're even more important than grade point averages and even majors, depending on your ideal field.
More than likely, you've been spending each and every summer in college (and hopefully at least a semester or two) getting real-world exposure to the career you wish to claim.
Unfortunately for some, many interns don't make the most of their internships. Maybe they think their role is not important or they don't want to put in a large effort for a small (or nonexistent) paycheck.
But, every intern has the power to turn his or her temporary gig into a full-time job, so long as he or she observes a few guidelines:
Don't be late
Your arrival at the office sets the tone for the day. It doesn't matter if you work in a tiny tech startup or at Goldman Sachs. Someone will notice when you clock in and clock out. Be the first one in and the last one to leave, always.
Dress to impress
This seems so simple, but the attire some interns believe to be appropriate would shock you Let it be known that there are three wardrobe categories into which your company could fall: business casual, business creative and business corporate.
Start-ups and tech companies are typically business casual. Fashion agencies and media companies tend to lean toward fashion-forward business creative. Finance, law and (duh) corporate offices are conservative business corporate.
Determine into which category your company falls, then bump up the professionalism by two notches. Dress for the position you want, not the position you have, so iron your collars, say no to jeans and keep yourself impeccably groomed at all times.
Keep your social media presence in check
I find it important to have a strong social media presence, but revealing your personal life to the world can be a slippery slope. If you are under 21 years of age, do not ever post a photo of yourself with a drink. If you are over 21, you may have one drink in your hand.
If you are visibly intoxicated, take it down. Avoid swearing and polarizing, aggressive posts both in general and toward other individuals. This goes for all forms of social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — private or not, companies do in fact have a way of seeing what you upload to the Internet.
And remember, if your grandma would blush, just say no. A few likes and a couple laughs isn't worth damaging your professional career.
For God's sake, put your phone away. Not on the table. Not face down on the desk. Keep it in your pocket if you're a guy, in your purse if you're a girl, and do not touch it unless your job literally requires you to be on the phone.
You're there to work, after all, not text all of your friends about with whom you rode the elevator or how bummed you are that you're missing your Greek house's spring formal.
Ask for clarification if you are confused about an assignment. Inquire as to how something that may seem small to you fits into the puzzle and the grand scheme toward which the company is working.
Your supervisors know that as an intern, you don't know how every little detail in the company works. They do, however, admire those who are curious to learn about the ins and outs.
Be especially inquisitive if you're interning at a company where you'd like to work long term. Companies are actually hoping to hire from within to save time on training. Since time equals money, use that to your advantage and soak up as much knowledge as you can.
Check in with your immediate boss anytime you complete a task and never let anyone catch you not working on something. Scheduling periodic reviews with your internship coordinator to see where you can improve also shows serious initiative, something for which employers yearn.
Volunteer for any task, no matter how small it may seem. You will probably even get bonus points for taking on a task at which the other interns hesitated. Besides, you may end up working with someone who will mentor you in the future.
Engagement also doesn't end when your internship does. Stay in contact with the connections you made, as well as with your fellow interns.
You never know who may be able to help you out or where one of them might go and one of the biggest differences between a job and a career is the ability to properly network.
Write handwritten notes
We live in a technologically driven world, where a handwritten note may seem outdated, but trust me, it isn't. Did you have an exceptional time working with a producer? Let him or her know.
Did you gain insight into landing your dream job from someone at the top of your company? Thank him or her for taking the time.
Moreover, thank everyone — and I do quite literally mean everyone — for their guidance, assistance and patience throughout your time at said company when your internship comes to an end.
Give yourself carpal tunnel with an obscene number of thank you notes you write. Include personal stories and specific instances of how they inspired you.
Leaving with a positive impression is equally as important as beginning with one.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It