Starting a new internship can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. Here are some suggestions for you to make the most of this experience:
1. Make it a success. Prepare for it by thinking about the goals that you have identified for yourself and what you hope to learn and achieve. One of the most important steps you can take as you begin your internship is to treat it like a full-time real job. That means taking owership of how you do it and what you gain from it. Be professional and treat everyone you meet with respect and professionalism, building relationships with everyone.
2. Know the organization’s policies and procedures. Spend time before you start your internship reviewing any information you have about the organization. Use the first couple days to ask coworkers and supervisors about their policies for email and voicemail etiquette, office attire, internal communication, and other protocols.
3. Take on assignments with enthusiasm and seek out new challenges when possible. Take initiative and seek out opportunities to learn. Ask for clarification on assignments if necessary and see if there are ways you can make improvements. Some employers will have fully mapped out your summer for you. Others expect you to be resourceful and seek opportunies to contribute. Understand what your limits and bounds are as an intern and work within them.
4. Develop a good working relationship with your supervisor. Keep track of your projects and accomplishments to use when meeting with your supervisor and also for updating your resume. Clarify expectations, as well as how often you’ll meet with him/her and when your performance will be reviewed. Know how to ask for help and how to get more challenging work when needed. Be open to all feedback.
5. Get to know your co-workers and understand how to work well with them. Spend time understanding the other divisions or departments in your workplace. Observe their work and consider having coffee with them for a few minutes to ask about what they do and how their work fits with the goals of the organization. Think about how you can be a professional and contributing member of the team.
6. Find a mentor and use him or her as a resource. You can check in periodically with a mentor to talk about concerns and problems but also to get advice about future paths for your career. They can also help you with practical advice about living in the area or transitioning from college to the workplace once you graduate.
7. Make other professional connections outside of work. Use the Alumni Careers Network during your internship to seek out advice from alumni who are working in the same city. Consider joining either national or regional professional associations to create more networking opportunities.
8. Reflect on your internship and think about how to leverage it for future positions. Spend some time thinking about what you learned about yourself—your abilities, skills, interests, values, accomplishments—and how this experience can directly or indirectly contribute to your future plans. Did you meet your goals? Where do you want to go from there? You may want to ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation to keep on file at Career Services in the Credentials File.