How to Have a Successful Internship
By Wiss Associate
For many of you college students, your summer internships are starting soon or have already started. For those who have internships, it may be your first time working in a corporate environment. Being nervous is understandable, but you should also be excited! This is a great opportunity for you to leave a good impression on your employers, grow your network, and maybe even walk away with a job offer! Here are some tips so you can make the most out of your internship.
Have a GREAT Attitude
- Do everything with enthusiasm and keep a smile on your face, even when you’re doing something you don’t want to. This won’t go unnoticed by your employers.
- Learn as much as you can; this is what the internship is all about.
- Be humble and don’t assume you know it all because let’s be honest, you probably don’t.
Observe (but don’t be creepy)
- Watch interactions between co-workers and listen to the terminology used to see what kind of behavior is appropriate.
- See what others wear before dressing too casual, you don’t want to be that intern. Even if the company says they let employees wear jeans, it is still a good idea to wear business casual clothes most of the time (especially at the start).
- Each company has a different culture, so even if you have had an internship in the past, it is best to observe first.
Set Goals and Ask for Feedback
- Make a list of what you want to gain from the internship. Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) so each time you reach a goal, you can check it off the list and see your progress.
- Ask for feedback throughout the internship. Reach out to your supervisor and ask if you can have a meeting or even go out
- This will provide you with an important perspective and will show themthat the job is important to you.
Get Involved and Never Feel inferior
- Play in the office sports leagues, participate in the office community service events, and any other firm-wide events. This
will allow you to get to know employees on a more personal level and will help you to determine if you and the company are a true fit.
- Don’t feel like you can’t get involved just because you’re an intern, whether it’s the activities listed above or projects at work. You can help in more ways than you know!
- Don’t be easily intimidated. Remember, they hired you for a reason. Be confident, treat everyone with respect, but let your personality shine through whether you’re with a partner or a staff member.
- Go above and beyond. If someone asks you to take on a project, do it! Even if it’s not exactly what you thought you would be doing, your versatility will make you even more valuable to the company.
- Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from taking on projects- it is okay to make mistakes, we’re only human.
- Own it, learn from it, fix it. Working hard and improving your skills is what matters most.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- Ask as many questions as you need to ensure you have a clear understanding of what you’re doing, how to do it, and why you’re doing it.
- It’s much better to ask a lot of questions than to not ask any.
- Asking questions shows that you care about doing things the right way.
- If you’re having trouble or are stuck on something, ask for help. There are plenty of people that will be happy to assist you. They won’t bite, we promise.
- Treat this as your final feedback meeting and come prepared with questions you want to ask them.
- Try to learn anything else you can. Are they continuing their internship program next summer? Are they looking to fill any full time positions? Do they need any help during the school year?
- Finally, ask what their biggest piece of advice is. This is first hand advice from a rare perspective that not many other people can provide.
An internship is an opportunity for you to learn and grow as an individual, so make sure you get the most out of it. Good luck!!
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