Ensuring Internship Success

How Do I Make The Most Out of my Internship?

Share Your Learning Objectives

Student at Computer
We require that you share your Learning Objectives with your Supervisor. This will help start a conversation about what your internship will and will not include. Having a conversation about your objectives at the beginning of your internship gives you and your supervisor an opportunity to discuss your goals and engages them in the process towards you learning new skills and knowledge during your internship.

Set a Regular Meeting Time with Your Supervisor

Setting and keeping a regular meeting time with your supervisor is vitally important step in ensuring a successful internship.

As soon as you start an internship, pick a time that works for both of you—for example, 45 minutes every Monday or an hour every other Friday. And be sure to set longer or more frequent meetings in the first couple weeks of your internship because that’s when you’re most likely to need assistance and training. In general, you should never be afraid to ask questions during your internship. Supervisors respect engaged learners who show curiosity. Sometimes it is more appropriate to keep a list of questions to ask at your regular meeting.

Attitude Shapes Everything

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Attitude has a huge impact on your experience, and it can make or break your internship. If you show your supervisor that you’re flexible and hard-working, they’ll be more likely to view you as a potential future employee. You should think of your internship as one long job interview.

Demonstrate all of the qualities that would be desirable in an employee. Show up on time, communicate clearly, work hard, ask questions when you don’t understand, take responsibility, and show initiative.

Talk to People!

Some people say the most useful thing about their internship was the opportunity to network and meet professionals in their field. When you’re at your internship, be social and friendly, and see if there are opportunities for you to attend professional events like seminars and conferences.

Be Aware of Office Norms

Offices have differing norms regarding technology. Many students like to have Facebook running in the background and take personal cell phone calls at their desk. In some offices, this behavior is commonplace and perfectly acceptable. In others, it is viewed as tremendously unprofessional and distracting. You should be aware that there is something of a generation gap in attitudes about the use of technology in the workplace. A successful intern will quickly determine and follow the norms of their particular office.

Similarly, you will want to learn and follow office norms regarding dress. Sometimes clothes that are very fashionable on campus are wildly out of place in offices where the majority of employees dress in business casual or more formal attire. Take your cues from the office’s professional staff rather than from your fellow interns.

Remember that it’s Temporary

If you get there and realize the internship isn’t a perfect fit, remember that it’s only temporary. Get what you can from the experience. Remember that it can still be a good opportunity to network, and it may lead to your next internship or job.

Last Updated August 10, 2015