How to stand out at your internship

In my personal experience this past summer, there were 27 interns with the same goal: get that full-time offer!

You may find yourself in a similar situation. There are hundreds of employees at the company you’re at and too many interns, so how are you going to stand out? The reality is, the moment you step into the building, it’s fair game. The interactions you have at the receptionist desk, in the elevator, and in the break room all count. I was in the elevator with the COO once!

Here are some tips to stand out and get your name out there:

  • Ask questions.
    I was lucky to be in a program where we had conferences with several executives of the company. My internship class was fairly quiet, so the HR director was urging us to ask questions. Asking questions really shows your interest in the company, its employees, and its future.

    • This tip doesn’t apply to only conferences. During team meetings and meet-and-greets, ask as many insightful questions as you can. Whether it be a summer, fall, or spring internship, this time period is the only chance to make as many connections as possible and learn more about how the business works.
  • Branch out to other teams.
    An internship is a place to gain experience so interacting with other related teams is not abnormal. Asking other team members to go out to coffee or have a simple meeting to learn more about what that team is doing really shows you’re not afraid to branch out. It also shows you’re not staying comfortably confined in your team either.
  • Keep track of names.
    During the first day of my internship, I had so much trouble keeping track of everyone I was meeting because we had a networking social after work hours. Create a mind map of names, associate names with your friends’ names, take down notes — do whatever you can to remember names. Remembering their names shows that you care. Your coworkers will be pleased that you are interested in them and what they do.
  • Offer to do more than what your job description says.
    Create a reputation of being a go-getter by asking for more work after efficiently completing what was originally tasked. Asking for more work shows you want to gain more hands-on experience in the business and that you’re an initiator.

Good luck at your internship!

Quantifying Your Accomplishments

People like numbers. Why? They’re easy to follow and they stand out from the rest of your text. Also, being able to quantify your accomplishments, such as “increasing utilization of the platform by 150%” sounds a lot fancier than “increased overall utilization of the platform.”

Adding numbers helps the recruiter see how much you have had an impact on the previous organizations you’ve worked at. Even your most seemingly menial experiences such as a customer service representative can seem more attractive and meaningful when adding appropriate statistics.

Here’s an example:

Clothing Company Co.
Retail Associate

  • Improved customer satisfaction by 200% by interacting with customers on their needs, establishing a new sense of customer awareness, and efficiently resolving conflicts
  • Interacted with 50+ customers a day by approaching them when they first enter the store, being aware of when they needed help, and offering assistance with clothing choices
  • Collaborated with other co-workers and supervisors to establish a more efficient working environment

The only way to pull such numbers is by asking for survey feedback or asking your manager for these numbers. Never fabricate these numbers, as interviewers will ask you how you obtained such information.