It’s summertime! After long semester, you’re ready to hit the ground running. This will be the summer you’ll gain valuable work experience that will pad your resume for life after graduation.
Whether you’re working an unpaid internship or picked up a temporary administrative job to earn extra cash, make this summer count. Just because you’re in a temporary gig doesn’t mean you can slack.
Believe it or not, your internship or admin job can serve as the perfect jumpstart to your career for life after graduation. Follow these five steps to leave a long-lasting and positive impression. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Be punctual
“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” This is what my first mentor shared with me as the secret of successful first impressions. Being punctual demonstrates you respect your employer’s time.
While everyone has days where something comes up — an epic commute due to an accident or other roadblocks that are out of your control — don’t fall back on these excuses frequently. Make an effort to be on time.
It doesn’t matter if other employees in the office strolls in late. As a temporary employee or intern, you want to leave a good impression. Make a point to be early.
2. Dress for success
It’s often easy to identify the “the temp” or “the intern” just by looking around the office. Don’t let this happen to you. Leave your flip flops, short skirts, jeans and other summer wear at home. Save your ripped jean shorts or cute summer dress for the weekends — not the office.
Even though you’re low on the totem pole, dress professionally so your employers can treat you an equal. First impressions do matter!
3. Put down your iPhone
While on the job, take a much needed break from social media, G-chat and texting. You’re here to work, not to hang with your friends online. These distractions can get in the way of your career.
Yes, you may find yourself struggling with FOMO. But remember your employer has clear expectations on why you’re here for such a short time. They want you to support them on a specific project or task.
So while you’re on the job, try to let go of the distractions and pay attention to the work in front of you.
4. Be enthusiastic about all your assigned tasks
Always maintain a positive and enthusiastic attitude to whatever task you receive. This is the ultimate “make it or break it” on whether you get promoted to better projects or are offered a permanent position.
As a temp or intern, you may assigned to take care of menial, administrative tasks such as opening the mail, filing and copying. Treat each task as if it’s important (because it is.) Employers use your attention to detail and attitude to gauge your initiative, willingness to be part of the team and your work ethic.
Your boss can see when you roll your eyes and knows when you complain about your tasks. Keep those gripes to yourself. Your reputation — and future career — will thank you.
5. Steer clear of office politics
Socializing at work is a great way to connect and network. With that said, you want to stay as far away as possible from any office gossip. Avoid bad mouthing your coworkers or spreading rumors you may have overheard.
Remember, even if you do not continue working long-term with this company, you’ll likely want a reference or two at the end of your assignment or internship. To stay in the good graces of your employer, don’t engage in the office politics.
Look at your temp or internship experience not as a short-term in-between gig, but as an amazing opportunity for professional growth. These few months will help you expand your network and gain new skills and experiences that will come in handy in the future — so make this time count.
Laura Yamin is a Career Coach. She works with women who’ve decided they are done living their lives to please everybody else and are ready to transition into a career that makes them excited to get out of bed on Monday mornings.