Succeeding at Your Internship
You made it! An internship is yours! Now the work really begins. Remember: this experience can be a potential springboard to a full-time professional position or another internship opportunity.
Tips to Succeed
- Treat this internship as a professional job.
- Have a positive attitude, and introduce yourself to everyone you meet.
- Don’t just hang around the other interns. Be a team player, but take the time to build your network with professionals on staff, too.
- Seek advice from supervisors and peers.
- Conduct informational interviews with various people within the organization.
- Be professional in your manner, dress and communication (See below.)
- Set goals for yourself during your internship; communicate them to your supervisor.
- Stay busy. If you run out of things to do, ask your supervisor for more work.
- Ask questions. Remember, you’re learning!
- Research. Ask about and read professional journals. Some organizations have access to member only articles that your supervisor can forward to you through email.
- Start with talking to your supervisor. It could be a simple misunderstanding. If your supervisor is the issue and you are taking an internship for credit, start with your department internship coordinator or the faculty member guiding your internship.
- Seek advice from your department internship coordinator. If you don’t have one or are conducting a non-credit internship, feel free to schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor at the Career Development Center.
- Other potential challenges and solutions
Being a Professional
This internship could be your first experience in a professional setting.
- Watch for cues in the organization’s workplace culture. Maintain a professional image. Ask before you start your internship what professional attire is acceptable to the organization.
- Remember that your status is different. Don’t follow the behaviors of folks at an organization who have been there a long time if following means breaking or bending the rules. (Example: don’t leave early if you find that other employees are doing so or shop online at work even if you see others doing it.)
- Avoid office politics and office gossip.
- Don’t have your cell phone out and on.
- Don’t text while talking with others.
- Use company equipment strictly for company use. (Example: don’t print your term paper using their equipment or paper.)
Make sure your email communication is polite and error-free. Don't sent out anything you wouldn't want on the front page of the New York Times.