Regardless if your student work experience is exciting, interesting, challenging or the opposite mundane and tedious, always give it your all. Make sure to keep off your personal phone and all social media platforms and email accounts, unless it is a part of your job responsibilities. Grunt work will continue to exist in all jobs at one point or another. Pursue each task, regardless of what it is, with drive and determination to exceed. If it fits into your schedule, don't walk away from or complete tasks that are small, unimportant or not as interesting or important to you with anything other than your best.
If things are slow or you have completed your projects ahead of schedule, talk to your supervisor. Don't sit idle. There may be other projects where your assistance might be needed. Adopt a proactive mindset. Generate a list of projects or tasks and ask your supervisor for permission to move forward with them. Always remain busy. Don't ever let your feelings of boredom show on your face or in your attitude. Giving your all will not only be appreciated, but help people remember you.
You will learn many new skills and grow personally and professionally, all while navigating a new environment. During this time, it is important to remember that how you carry yourself is noticeable to others. Having a negative attitude is a surefire way to burn a bridge with your supervisor and/or colleagues. Avoid coming across at aggressive, annoyed, entitled, too important, ungrateful, lazy, etc. Remember your manners. You want to create a lasting impression that doesn't include people thinking you are a difficult coworker. It is also important especially during times of stress and uncertainty that you remain positive. Identify ways to build on your positive thinking as it has a profound effect on your mental and physical well-being.
Ask questions. Seek feedback from your supervisor and colleagues. Find out how you can improve. If you make a mistake, acknowledge the error and ask what you could have done and how you can fix the situation. Constructive criticism will you help become a better professional.
Soak up as much information as you can see and hear. Watch and learn. Ask your supervisor if you can sit on meetings and/or calls. Learn about a range of things, by taking advantage of any training opportunities. Observe how people work and how their work differs from your own. Expose yourself to how an organization functions. Jot down notes during meetings, and if something is unclear, ask questions to clarify later. Learn new skills. Seek out appropriate resources of information. Show them you want to learn about different aspects of the job and the company. Showing a willingness to learn makes a great impression and can help you progress in your career path.
When you have the chance and it is appropriate, take the opportunity to focus on building and nurturing professional relationships with those within the organization, and not just with other fellow students. Say hello and introduce yourself to people. Step out of your comfort zone and interact with other employees. See if any of your colleagues are open to you conducting an informational interview. This is a great opportunity for you to gain some insight on the company, receive professional advice as well as build a future connection. Try to absorb as much as possible. If your employer is hosting an event and it is appropriate for you to attend, this is also another opportunity to mingle and network (Warning: Even if you are of age, avoid consuming alcoholic beverages in the presence of your colleagues). If you have the ability, ask coworkers to coffee or sit with them during lunch. Sometimes it is not always about what skills and accomplishments you are going to list on your resume, but who you meet.
While you are building professional relationships, be on the lookout for career mentors. Sometimes students or new professionals will be assigned a mentor and sometimes you will need to identify and ask someone to serve as your mentor. Mentors are people who are open to continued opportunities to give you advice, write recommendation letters, serve as references, connect you to others, etc. They are people who can guide you through your work experience. They can be someone who has skills and traits you want to develop, someone with a job title you hope to have one day, etc. However, mentor types of relationships start by you taking the initiative to say hello and later, nurturing the relation with continued communication.
Whether daily or weekly, you want to reflect on your experience. Create a list of all nonconfidential projects you worked on, your role in the project and the outcomes. Keep track of the details of your accomplishment especially any metrics and numbers. This is great information you can use on you resume and in future interviews. Ask your supervisor and colleagues for feedback on your performance and reflect on their comments. Think about what you learned and things you didn't anticipate. Use all this information as you progress in your career.
Before your last day at the company or organization, be sure to thank anyone you worked with or helped you in some way. Ask for their business cards or contact information and make an effort to stay in touch. Send an email once in a while to keep them posted. Connect on LinkedIn. Staying in touch is a great way to follow up on your experience.