At a Glance: Internships are valuable career moves. Just make sure you’re taking initiative and making connections with professionals you meet.
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An internship is the perfect time to observe and learn about all the moving parts of an organization — from the culture to different responsibilities and objectives. Internships can often lead to full-time jobs, either immediately afterward or down the line through professional connections.

But how do you make the best impression possible when you’re starting out from scratch? Consider these three ideas to get the most out of your internship and leave a lasting impression.

Take initiative

Sure, you can clock in and out every day at your expected time and do your assignments without making a peep, but if you really want to impress your boss, go above and beyond. Show up early and stay late when you can. Don’t just wait for things to do, take initiative.

Instead of twiddling your thumbs when you don’t have anything to do, ask your boss for more work. Find out how you can be useful. Anticipate people’s needs and prove that you’re eager and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Make lifelong connections

Don’t view your internship as just a temporary step on your way to a better job. Your internship may turn into a full-time position, or it could connect you with people who may become lifelong mentors. Treat everyone you meet during your internship as an important connection, and make your time there count.

Ask people if they’re willing to have coffee with you and discuss what they’ve learned throughout their career. Most people are happy to share advice. After all, they’ve been in your shoes before.

Attitude is everything

Here’s a piece of job advice that doesn’t get shared often enough: People like to work with people who are pleasant to be around. Sure, it sounds simple, but not everyone takes it to heart. Having a positive attitude, being polite and going out of your way to be friendly will leave a lasting impression. Don’t ever be intimidated to introduce yourself to someone, hold open the door or simply say hello.

Manners, cheerfulness and connections can go a long way in making you a memorable face around the office — even after your internship is up.

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