Now that you have accepted that internship offer and you are thinking about how to be a rockstar at your internship, following these 3 steps would certainly help. You already know the basics like gaining industry knowledge and reading latest news on your company. Take one step ahead and get closer to convert this upcoming internship into a full time offer.
1. Establish your goal and deliver it: It is very typical that the managers would put out a job requisition for interns just as part of their summer internship recruiting process and would not have a defined goal in mind before the interns are on-site. It is ultimately up to you to work with your supervisor to come up with a defined goal based on his/her expectation and your interests. The first step that would help in identifying a goal would be to take a couple of days and talk to your teammates about a problem that their business is facing or any gap that you can help in filling. Take inputs from your supervisor and try to formulate a goal which is reasonable to complete within 3 months’ timeframe, valuable ($) for the business and you are passionate about. A goal could be as simple as “I will perform a competitor analysis for our newly launched product ABC and will provide recommendations to the leadership on what new features can be added to product ABC based on my analysis”
2. Secure a mentor: Having a mentor in the organization outside of your own team would be very valuable throughout the course of your internship as well as after it ends. A mentor can provide you fresh perspective of the organization and provide meaningful recommendations you’re your internship project. He/She can also act as a sponsor for you if there is a need for a person like you in their team based on your skills. Selecting an experienced mentor would not only provide you industry related advice based on his/her experience but also would share some career do’s and don’ts to help you prepare for career post-graduation. If you do not enjoy working within your current team, but are still interested in the organization for full time career then the mentor would certainly be helpful in getting you connected to the right people.
3. Know everybody and leave a good impression: Take this literally, make it a point to set up coffee chats with one new person on every single day of your internship. It can be people within your team or outside. Make it a point to network with as many people as you can and as an intern ask them if you could help them with any business problem if your bandwidth allows. Knowing your teammates and more people within the organization will help in two ways: first this will leave an impression that you want to stick around and would like to come back given a full time offer; second, they can help you in finding valuable info for you which you may need for your internship projects. To show your involvement you can also publish your weekly or monthly learnings and share it with HR, leadership and other interns. Here is an example from my MBA summer internship a while ago
4. Get recommendations: The decision to offer you a full time position doesn’t usually happen right after your internship ends. This sometime takes months before the organization has the suitable position for you. Recommendations are a great way to have documented proof of how awesome you were as an intern and would be a great addition to their organization or any other. LinkedIn and emails are great ways to have that documented. I recommend taking endorsements from a person at a senior leadership position because there is a high probability of getting that noticed as compared to others.