Ahhh summer, that time of the year when thousands of interns descend upon the cities across America in hopes of paying their dues and landing a full time job offer. I’ve interned every summer during college and worked in Finance for a long time managing interns, so here are some tips on how to maximize your summer.
If you’re not lucky enough to have an internship where clear goals are given to you, then you have to ask for it. Politely force the conversation and ask questions like “Can you tell me what success means during my 10 weeks here?” and “What are my goals and key milestones?” If they can’t tell you, then you help them define it. Particularly in Finance, metrics are everything so make sure you leave there with some something meaningful to put on your resume. The key is to not leave there at the end of the summer and not know if you did something meaningful or just hung out and worked on menial tasks.
Don’t Be Basic
It’s easy to feel like a tiny fish in an ocean at the big banks, but since you qualified for the internship, you have some smarts so you should do as much as possible to impress your team. If you see something that comes up and it’s not part of what you’ve been assigned, raise your hand. Hustle! If you have ideas on how to do something differently or better, give suggestions (humbly). To stand out, just doing what you’re given isn’t enough - that’s too basic, and you don’t want to be that.
Network. Network. Network.
It’s not a dirty word if you’re authentic, that means you show a genuine interest in getting to know and learning from others. Say hello and introduce yourself to people. Express your interest in other parts of the bank that you’re interested in learning more about and ask your manager for advice on how to get intros. You may work in the Marketing dept but may want to explore the Finance function or you work in B2C but are interested in B2B. The point of internships is to help you figure out what you want to do when you graduate, use this time to learn as much as possible about different teams and functions to help you decide what your first job should be.
There’s a Line. Don’t Cross It.
Some banks have instituted casual Fridays, don’t go overboard. It’s particularly easy in the summer to not dress appropriately at work because it’s HOT out. Ladies, do not wear: anything see-thru, spaghetti straps, off the shoulder, anything shorter than 3” above your knee. You may be hot AF (figuratively and literally) but you don’t want to be known as the girl who lacks common sense. For the dudes, no shorts, t-shirts, or god forbid, "wife-beaters". And a word on social media, don’t start following everyone you meet. Some people separate work and personal life on social. LinkedIn is the only social app to initiate connections on.
Good luck, kick butt, and go after that full time offer!
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