Maximize Your Experience

Now that you've gotten the internship, here are a few tips for getting the most out of your internship experience!

  1. Focus on your internship priorities
  2. Learn, not just work
  3. Remember to
  4. The Don'ts

 

  1. Focus on your internship priorities:

    • Clarify your employer's expectations of you up front so you will know exactly what your position entails.
    • Ask about the employer's dress codes.
    • If you are receiving a salary or stipend, make sure you understand all of the details (e.g., how often you get paid).
    • Clarify your work days and hours. Remember, this is the "real world": buy an alarm clock if necessary.
    • Begin observing and understanding workplace culture from the very first day.
    • Start building a good relationship with your supervisor(s) and co-workers. Remember, this internship also is your chance to start a professional network.
    • Practice good business etiquette.
    • Find a mentor. A good mentor is someone who is willing to share their knowledge and expertise and wants to see their mentee succeed.

  2. Learn, not just work:

    • Use break times to ask other staff members about their jobs.
    • Ask if you can participate in meetings to learn more about the company or industry.
    • Ask questions. Take advantage of your student status and ask questions about anything you do not understand.
    • Read professional trade journals and magazines.
    • Learn about the company and the industry.

  3. Remember to:

    • Ask appropriate questions.
    • Watch for signals as to where or when you can help.
    • Ask for feedback and support from your supervisor and co-workers.
    • Find out whom you should go to for help.
    • Cultivate key feedback sources and start building your professional network.
    • Always listen actively to directions and instructions.
    • Show enthusiasm for your work.
    • Be flexible.
    • Always follow through on projects, even if it means needing additional clarification.
    • Be a good listener. Don't interrupt.
    • Avoid gossip and office politics.

  4. Do not:

    • Use work e-mail for non-business use.
    • Use company time for personal phone calls.
    • Download programs or viruses to the office computer.