Internship Do’s and Don’ts

So you’ve spent countless hours researching, applying, and interviewing, and have finally landed the summer internship of your dreams. Now, it’s time to show your employer that they made the right choice in hiring you. Follow these tips for how to succeed at your summer internship:

  • Ask questions – An internship is a great opportunity to learn as much as you can about how businesses operate. You already did the hard part of studying in school, now it’s time to take advantage of the real life experience you are receiving. Talk to as many different people as you can and pick their brains. Any time you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask—you’re there to learn and people expect you to make mistakes.
  • Be honest about your work load –Your employer wants you to succeed, but you won’t if you pretend that you can handle much more work than you actually can. I personally believe that it is better to do a few things really well, than to do a bunch of things badly. Don’t be afraid to tell someone if you’re in over your head—they’ll work with you to make sure you find the right balance. And on the same note, if you feel like you can handle more, tell them! They’ll be thrilled to see you taking initiative and interest in their work.
  • Get to work early, stay late – This is a big one. Nothing looks worse to an employer than seeing an intern stroll into the office late. Give yourself enough time in the morning to arrive 10-15 minutes early so that you can settle in and prepare yourself for the day’s events. Also, before leaving work, it’s always a good idea to ask your boss if there is anything else you can do. By doing so, you will show them that you care about your job and that you are truly there to help them in whatever way you can.
  • Take notes –You should always show up to work with a pad of paper and a pen. You want to look prepared and engaged during a meeting, not unorganized and lazy. Your employer has spent a lot of time training you and they like to see that their effort is being reciprocated. Although it might not seem like a lot, this small act will show your employer that you are eager to learn and hard working.
  • Set goals for yourself –Show some initiative and set some goals for your summer. Even if you don’t share these goals with your employer, it is great to be able to look back at the end of your internship experience and see if you took full advantage of the opportunity. By creating a list of things you would like to accomplish at the beginning of your summer internship, you will be able to look back on your goals as the months go by to see if you are on still on track. An internship should not be wasted nor viewed as just something to put on your resume, but rather, a way for you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and see how much you can learn and accomplish.

Shauna McCormick is a Marketing Intern for Consultants 2 Go.