Tips to be a Successful Intern

Category: Experiential Learning

Landing an internship is the first step into the daunting world of work. Being prepared and rocking your internship can help make the next steps in the process a little less intimidating! Here are some tips and tricks that I have found to be helpful from my experience as an intern this summer:

Stay Professional– Arrive to work on time! This may seem like a simple thing, but we all have those days where we just aren’t prepared in the morning because we kept clicking the snooze button. Help your sleepy morning self out a little bit by packing your lunch and picking out your outfit the night before. This leaves you more time in the morning to make a wholesome breakfast and enjoy a cup of coffee. I would advise investing in some professional work clothes as well (earlier the better, so you aren’t panicked on your first day). I have found that gradually buying clothing pieces over time to add to your professional wardrobe is easiest and more cost effective- always keeping an eye out for sale items, of course!

Ask Questions– When you start a new job there is a lot of learning involved. The best way to understand the material is to ask questions. Some people are afraid to ask questions because they are too intimidated or think they might sound stupid. This is not the case; questions are encouraged because they will help you grasp what you are learning quicker. Professionals will appreciate you wanting clarification and your desire to gain knowledge.

Commit Yourself– This is important considering you are merely at the beginning of your professional career and want to work up the ladder. If you are given a project, do not complain about it- even if it is as boring as scanning. Perform to the best of your ability on anything you work on as an intern so that you can impress the professionals. Offer your help whenever you can and always keep yourself engaged (read articles, ask to sit in on meetings, etc.) so that you can really grow during the internship. Who knows, your internship might lead into a full-time job in the future, so you want to leave a good impression on the company, or at the very least obtain a great reference for the future.

Network– Last but not least, make sure to network! And by that, I mean, talk to the people you work with, then take it a step further by collecting business cards and connecting with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great networking tool for your professional profile (and if you don’t have a professional photo, check out the FREE LinkedIn Photo Days the Career Center will be offering this year!).  When your internship ends, stay in touch with your former colleagues, and LinkedIn is an easy way to do that! Whether you wish to gain a full-time position at the same company or expand your search elsewhere, your relationships will help you in the future.

These are just a few of my suggestions to rock your internship. Each person may have very different positions in various industries, but these tips still apply to everyone!