Making the Most of Your Internship
- Know what you want. This will make you seem focused and
motivated to a potential employer. Be careful not to take on too many different
things, as you have limited time. Consider your goals, strengths, and expectations.
Define job expectations. Ask questions. Know your responsibilities.
See if you can (or must) make a final presentation, keep a journal, and
conduct informational interviews with employees. Make sure you know how
you’ll be evaluated, and that your sponsor is also clear on all these
- Maximize your time on the job.
Be responsible – show up on time, work hard, do your
best on ALL tasks, and limit socializing.
Take initiative – volunteer for projects, attend
meetings/seminars/conferences that are relevant, and ask for help if you’re
not getting enough guidance.
Be self sufficient – don’t ask questions about
things you could find out yourself.
Network – arrange for informational interviews, interact
socially with the rest of the staff when you can, and ask others about their
jobs (how they got them, pros and cons, etc.)
Observe company culture – this can tell you a lot
about the industry as a whole.
Learn about the business – know your organization’s
history, standing in the market, goals, clients, and competitors.
Use your experience to get a job – stay in touch
with your contacts, and keep a copy of any reports, articles, or presentations
you worked on to create a portfolio or demonstrate your experience to the
next potential employer.
After Your Internship is Over
Don’t look at your internship as an isolated
part of your college experience. Use the experience to
your next steps. Make an appointment with the Career Services
office if you need some advice or other help with this part of
Inventory all your intern duties and job areas you
were exposed to. Use this to update your resume, or start one if
you haven’t already done so.
Take care of all correspondence. SEND
THANK YOU NOTES, and request letters of recommendation while your great
work and wonderful personality are still fresh in your sponsor’s head.
Build on your internship experience. If
you liked it, start searching for your next opportunity in that field, keep
networking, and inform your professors. If you didn’t like the internship,
make an appointment with a counselor in the Career Services office to discuss some
alternatives that might be better for you.