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Jun 8 2015

Make A Mark without Becoming One: Internships & More!

We had a chance to catch up with Amber Cabral from the Global Talent Management Team at Walmart.  Amber is responsible for the strategy, content design and execution of Walmart’s Corporate Internship Program.  And because of the great work that Amber does for THE Fortune 1, we asked her to share a few tips on how summer interns can make a mark without becoming one!  

Here’s what Amber had to say:  

Authenticity and bringing your whole self to work are hot topics in the workplace as we head into internship season.   Who do employers want to you to bring to work everyday?  You, of course!  After all, you are the one who was selected for the job.  Authenticity helps build trust, connect with peers and business partners as well as helps expand your network and skill set.

The trick thing with authenticity in the work place is that it can be a little hard to understand. There are parts of our personal lives that may not belong in the workplace.  So how do you know what parts of you should go with you to work?  Think of it this way; bring the best version of yourself to work.   Below are 6 tips to help you be successful and authentic in the workplace while winning your leaders, peers and colleagues support and trust.

  1. Wear the right “uniform.”  While we all know to keep our skirts knee length, leave shorts at home and cleavage covered, every employer has a specific set of rules around attire in addition to the standard rules.  Get to know what the uniform looks like at your workplace.  Is a full suit expected daily?  Does “Casual Friday’s” mean jeans and a collared shirt or slacks, but no jacket?  Following your employers’ workplace norms as it relates to dress draws attention to your messaging and quality of work, rather than your attire.
  2. Know your business.  Professionalism does not end with attire and executive presence; you have to know your stuff, too!  Make sure you are always up-to-date on your area of expertise.  You can make a habit of scanning the major news and business outlets for updates, daily, or subscribe to media outlets that specialize in your area of expertise
  3. Get connected!  Make it a point to build personal and sincere connections with others.  A healthy network helps secure current and future success by giving you access to others with unique skill sets, such as knowing someone who can help with graphic arts or coding a webpage.  A strong network also gives you access to unique or private information – like knowing when a new job is coming open in that department you have been eyeing!  Lastly, it can help you establish and build credibility.  As you connect with others and deliver stellar work, people will talk about you.  Nothing quite gives you a golden seal of approval like getting a positive review from colleagues or business partners.
  4. Deliver quality, turnkey ready work.  Giving your leaders the best “you” helps them be successful in their roles.  Have a big project to submit?  Make it as neat and clean as possible, even if it is just a proposal or a first draft.  Employ peers you trust to review your work to catch edits, and offer to do the same for their future projects.  Leaders will come to appreciate the level of preparation that goes into your work and will be confident about sharing your work with others.
  5. Give other’s kudos.  Let your peers and business partners know you appreciate them, publicly.  Mention others strengths and ways you were able to partner to achieve goals, especially if you have the ear of your leaders.  Letting people know who helped you lets others know you are trustworthy and will share wins which helps build trust among colleagues.
  6. Share your uniqueness.  What skill set or characteristic do you have that makes you stand out?  Find a way to share it in the workplace.  Maybe you are especially good with words, or you have an eye for design?  Maybe you can sing very well or paint.  Even if you are unable to apply your uniqueness to your day-to-day, sharing it with others helps to humanize you and makes you easier to connect and build trust with.

Remember, you were selected for your role, so your leaders want to see your personality shine!  The more you practice brining your best self to work, the more others will gravitate to you and celebrate your confidence.  Want more information?  Check out Carla Harris’ book, Expect To Win, for more tips and ideas about how to succeed at work.

Thanks Amber for such sage advice!  

How are you planning to make your mark this summer? The YOUniversity Drive team would love to feature you and any insight gained this summer with fellow DRIVERS!  Contact us with your story –!