As employers increasingly opt to select new hires from among their pools of former interns, college students must be ever more mindful of how they conduct themselves both in and out of the workplace.
A career expert compiled a helpful list of eight things that interns can do to increase their odds of being hired by companies where they completed internships.
- Always give more than what’s expected. It is advised that interns avoid promising more than they can deliver, should always give their best efforts – regardless of the job or task – and take responsibility for the things they do right and the things they do wrong.
- Use proper cell phone etiquette. Ringers should be turned to silent or vibrate and calls should never be answered, except during breaks.
- Remember that someone is always watching. Behaving in a polite and respectful manner at all times could spare an intern the embarrassment of shaking hands with the very same person to whom he made rude hand gestures in the company parking lot.
- Lunch isn’t just lunch when you’re dining with co-workers and supervisors. Use proper table manners and follow restaurant customs like waiting to be seated.
- Mind your manners. Saying “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” could make a huge difference in how interns are perceived by their co-workers, mentors and supervisors. Practicing the art of good listening also makes a good impression.
- Body language. Maintaining eye contact, adopting a firm handshake and an air of confidence will help interns earn the respect and confidence of others.
- Appearance matters. Having a clean and tidy appearance is important, even on days off. Interns who take the time to learn and follow company dress codes convey the message that they seriously want to join their employers’ teams. It is always important to shine your dress shoes. Not only does it speak to attention to detail, but to maturity and an ability to follow through with an assignment, too.
- Verbal and written communication skills. Be careful about what you post on the Internet or share with others (because they could end up posting it). It is also recommended that interns work on improving their vocabularies and controlling their responses during conflicts. No one wants to hire someone who yells or has a potty mouth.
All the good habits and behaviors practiced during the internship should be maintained afterward. It’s also important for interns to stay in touch with co-workers, mentors and supervisors to remain on the companies’ radar. They can also cultivate valuable pools of references to use during job searches later on.
The importance of internships can never be overstated. And with the increased incidence of employers hiring former interns, the importance of behaving well during an internship also cannot be overstated.