Establishing and building your brand while interning can be tricky. It’s essential to get noticed, stand out, and build relationships. In this blog post, I’m sharing seven ways to help build your brand as an intern and increase your chances of being offered a job or using your internship as a reference for future career opportunities.
Sure, each internship is different. A summer legal intern’s requirements are different from someone in the coding or gaming industry. The needs and goals of an intern for a mechanic are probably different than the local bakery. But here’s the deal, I believe the similarities are greater than the differences, and regardless of your internship job or occupation, one or more of these seven ideas will resonate with you and be of value.
#1 Update Your Linkedin and Social Media Profiles
One easy way to make a name for yourself and build your internship branding is by updating your LinkedIn and social media profiles. It’s important that you have photos of the company, internship logo, or fun work-related pictures on these sites. Make sure they are well lit with good quality so your profiles and posts will be noticed. Your company will also appreciate the time that you took to do this. It shows that you care.
#2 Learn About Your Company History, Management Team, and Immediate Boss or Supervisor
Google your company. Find out what the internship team’s management structure looks like. Follow the company’s social media accounts. Like and engage in the comments.
Learn about your immediate boss or supervisor and where they are in the company hierarchy. Ask them questions about who you can talk to if you have a question, how things work at their position level, and anything else that will help you get a better understanding of the short and long-term company goals.
#3 Schedule Lunch With Company Leaders.
Schedule a traditional lunch or lunch over Zoom with your boss and other company leaders. Please don’t be shy; most will enjoy sharing stories and experiences with others they feel genuinely interested in learning and advancing.
If doing a Zoom, reach out the day before and ask what they’d enjoy having for lunch. Then, use Uber Eats or DoorDash to have it delivered about 10 minutes before you go live. Order the same for you so you can share the experience. I doubt anyone else has done this, so have fun and make it happen. You’ll make an impact if you do.
What’s the best way to have a conversation during lunch? I suggest learning how to ask open-ended questions. Find out their “why” and what motivates them. Direct the discussion with open-ended questions like:
-What got them started in this kind of business?
– What is their day-to-day life like?
– Why do they do it every single day, even when things get hard?
What is one thing you could learn from them that might help you in your internship experience?
Remember, resist the urge to talk about yourself. Make the topic all about the other person. Nobody ever left a room or Zoom while talking about themselves. Do this, and you’ll learn more about the other person, company, and opportunities in an hour than you ever would talking about yourself.
After your lunch, make sure to write a thank-you note or email.
#4 Take a Look at How the Company Can Improve the Digital or Cloud-Based Aspects of its Products, Services, and Brand
In today’s world, primarily because of what consumers experienced during COVID-19, complimenting your offline products and services with digital and cloud-based products, services, and brands are more important than ever. Here are a few things you may want to look at to improve the digital or cloud-based aspects of your company’s products, services, and brand:
How is the website performing?
Is there a unifying look and feel across all platforms?
What is happening in the company’s social media feed?
Is the company currently on the popular platforms (live video and social audio)?
#5 Suggest a Podcast, Live Audio or Video Show to Build the Company Brand.
These are relatively new ways companies are connecting with their audience. They chances are high the company you are interning with probably isn’t leveraging these new platforms.
Show examples of strong brands. Facebook, Twitter, and Google are all great examples of companies doing this. They have a clear digital presence through their website, social media feed, and app experience. These companies understand how to utilize the latest technologies to provide customers with a fantastic user experience while also building a global brand at the same time. Your company can do the same thing.
#6 Do Interviews with People In Your Company
Do live video or podcast interviews of people in the company. Have a conversation.
What is their why? What do they enjoy doing when they’re not at work? What do they enjoy doing most with the company? If they could share one piece of advice to help anyone in the company or their industry be successful, what would that be?
Focus on the story behind how they got there? Who were some of the early influences in their life that helped them get where they’re today? What role does this person fill for the company, and what makes that role different from others already on the team? What are they excited to be working on? What do they enjoy doing when they’re not at work?
You can use Zoom or Streamyard to get the above done.
#7 Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
Find out if the company sponsors after-hours functions and events and get involved. If you enjoy golf, try getting involved in a company-sponsored tournament. Things people may do after hours include running, book clubs, gaming, cooking, and volunteering. Whatever the activity, get involved, share experiences, and build relationships. In my opinion, building relationships is what being a summer intern is all about.
Summer internship programs are invaluable to college students. According to Forbes, those who participate in internship programs have a better chance of landing an offer when they graduate. An internship can also help summer interns become known at the company and build their resumes with knowledge from working on different projects despite being unpaid for their work during the summertime.
Ideas without action are simply dreams. If you want things to happen and create your own good luck, take action on these seven ideas to maximize your internship experience and create more opportunities to help make sure your future is fun, exciting, and bright!
Never stop learning and helping. And along the way, make each day your masterpiece!