While scoring a summer high school internship is a major league accomplishment – it's only half the game.
You may have spent the year perfecting your resume, collecting references and applying for a spectrum of summer internships, but, once you get it, maintaining it is a job in itself.
All students can benefit greatly from some preparation and training before they begin their internships, says Monique De La Oz, senior director of career development at Phipps Neighborhoods, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive education and career programs for young people and families in the New York City area.
"What many students don't realize is that there are many different elements of internships that need to be managed. And, while their bosses and managers are aware that this may be their first job, they are still expecting students to conduct themselves in a professional manner," De La Oz says. Her program’s Career Readiness Program reviews topics like professional attire, office conduct and productivity.
Students may be overwhelmed or nervous leading up to their first day on the job, De La Oz says, but after attending a series of training sessions and workshops, they exude more confidence and have a better sense of what will be expected of them.
"Identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and informing them of some of the situations they may face, helps increase their drive and their motivation," De La Oz says. "Confidence is the key to success, and by taking the time to prepare these young people for their first professional experience, you can help them start off on the right foot.”
Keep the following 10 things in mind, she says, and you'll go a lot further in delivering what your internship supervisor is expecting and give your high school resume a boost.
1. Tap into your passion.
Bosses and managers want interns to ask questions, have drive and take initiative. They expect you to step up to the plate and be ready and willing to learn. Research the company where you are interning and get to know all aspects of the job so you not only have an idea of what the company does on a day-to-day basis but also what you can bring to the table.
2. Wear professional attire.
Not all jobs have strict dress codes but interns need to dress appropriately. While you may not need to wear a suit and tie or dress everyday, your outfit needs to say that you mean business and are ready to work.
3. Don't be late!
No matter what time the job begins, bosses expect their employees to be on time. Test the time it takes to get to work, whether you walk, drive or take public transportation, so you really know how long it will take to get there. Also be realistic about yourself. If you accept an internship that requires you to be on site at 6 a.m. and you aren't a morning person, you may be setting yourself up to fail.
4. Join the team.
Be ready to work with a diverse range of people. Supervisors and managers work differently and have various skill sets. Be ready to learn unique things from each person, but also how to interact with a range of personalities and still remain professional. Work with a parent or mentor on role-plays and mock job or college interviews.
5. Get financial smarts.
This may be the first time you are being paid for a job. Several websites can help you create a budget and manage your money. It's an expensive world out there, and you need to be ready.
6. Use this opportunity to network.
Be open to meeting new people and taking advantage of further opportunities after the internship is over. Ask about professional organizations that might be open to interns.
7. Social media.
Productivity is a major component of having an internship, so don’t be wasting time on Snapchat or Instagram during work hours. If you are efficient at your job and have extra time on your hands, approach your boss, ask if your work is acceptable and, if the answer is yes, volunteer for more tasks.
8. Be resourceful.
Don’t just rely on the Internet. Get familiar with community resources such as the local library, businesses or nonprofits. You can be a big asset to your company or job just by knowing what's in the surrounding area and how those resources can help.