Internships

As we near the end of the Spring semester, many students are starting to look forward to their summer internships. Whether this is your first professional job or you just need a little freshening up, we have prepared a list of reminders to review before you start your new job.

  • Take Note of the Environment – Especially in today’s business world, there is a range of opinions on appropriate office attire. While some offices will be strictly business professional, others will prefer casual Friday on every day of the week. Pay attention to what your supervisor wears and mirror their level of formality. You should never be the most casually dressed in the room, but you also don’t want to be the most formal.
  • Do your Research – Make an effort to learn more about the company and your industry. You may have already researched surface level information prior to your interview, but take time to truly learn about the company. For example, if you are in a communications internship, take note of their writing style and brand guidelines so you can incorporate it into your work.
  • Set Personal Goals – Develop some of your own goals, maybe related to skill-building or experience. Share these goals when you meet with your supervisor so they can look out for opportunities and projects that may help you. They will appreciate you taking the initiative and helping with tasks outside of your job role. Goal setting is also a quantitative way to measure what you accomplished during your summer.
  • Watch and LearnIf there is potential to be hired full-time after the internship, pay close attention to the company’s culture. Remember, you are assessing whether or not you fit in with the company, just as much as they are assessing you.
  • Ask QuestionsInterns are not expected to know everything, and there is no better time to learn more about the industry than now. However, there are some better times to ask questions than others. Rather than jumping up to ask your supervisor every time something crosses your mind, use your scheduled one-on-one meetings for questions that can wait.
  • NetworkYour internship is the perfect opportunity to boost your LinkedIn and build your connections. Before the end of the summer, consider connecting with your internship colleagues. This is a great way to maintain relationships while you are back at school.
  • Be Enthusiastic! – You may not always be assigned to do the most glamorous assignments. Take the smaller tasks like filing or copying in stride and keep your mind focused on the big picture. If you show your supervisors that you are willing to work hard, they will think of YOU when they have a more rewarding task down the line. So remember to put passion and enthusiasm into any task you accomplish.
  • Expect Downtime – Not all internships are structured. Sometimes you may be overwhelmed with tasks while other times you’ll have nothing to do. Take these opportunities to work on tasks that you weren’t necessarily assigned. Being proactive will help you stand out to your employers.
  • Be ProfessionalRemember to be polite and respectful to others. You want to make it as easy to hire you as possible.
  • End on a High Note At the conclusion of your internship, express your gratitude for the experience. Even if you know that you will not be returning, you do not want to burn any bridges. There are no bad connections to have. Many interns will write letters to their supervisors to thank them for their help and the opportunity. This is a simple, effective way to end on a high note.