Summer Internship? 6 Ways to Shine

Congratulations!  You scored a dream internship, and are psyched about getting some real-world work experience this summer.

Photo:  USA Today

Photo:  USA Today

This isn't just a way to knock out credits toward your degree or while away the summer months.  It's an opportunity to show your employer what you can do - and develop work habits that will help you move up the career ladder. 

Here's how to stand out - in a good way - and nab a great recommendation or even a job after graduation:

#1 - Arrive Early.

Be the first person to arrive in the morning and the last to leave.

#2 - No Whining.

Just do the first two items on this list - and you will stand head and shoulders above most of your co-workers.  Seriously.

#3 - Be Nice to Work With.

People like to work with - and promote - people they like.

#4 - Remember How People Take Their Coffee. 

Do that Starbucks run with a smile. 

#5 - Take The Job Seriously. 

Don't complain that you "just" make copies or "just" make media lists.  Every job is important.  Take ownership, do it well - and people will notice.  If you don't take small tasks seriously, people will assume you have the same attitude toward larger projects as well.

#6 - There's No Such Thing as Grunt Work.

Every task is an opportunity to learn.  My first job out of college, I worked for a congressman, answering constituent mail and phone calls.  The mail never stopped, and I always had at least 100 pending letters on my desk.  Grunt work?  Never!  To respond to those letters, I had to learn about each issue coming before the House of Representatives and be able to articulate the congressman's position on it.  I also had to learn the intricacies of the legislative process.  Two years later, when a promotion was available, I was ready - and got the job.