A summer or semester long internship can provide numerous benefits and opportunities (even if its not
your dream job). Whether it is a paid position or for school credit, the experience you gain can help decide and prepare you for a future career.
Seeing how a business is run on a daily basis is a great way to determine whether or not you want to commit to a full time position in that field. You may even find an area of the business you never knew existed, that you would like to explore. The experiences you gain will help boost your resume for future positions, while also providing you with talking points in interviews. If you already landed a dream internship (yay!) or are currently applying, here are some things to keep in mind.
Do: Treat it like a job
As within any work environment, there is always the potential of being hired. Even if this is not an option, you will want to demonstrate that you are a professional individual, who is respectful of the position. This includes arriving to the office on time, handing in fully completed projects by their deadlines, and respecting all individuals. Also, keep in mind the office dress code.
Don't: Treat it like just another class
Unless you put in 110% into every one of your classes, don't treat your internship experience as another morning course. Unlike when your alarm goes off for that 9am class, you won't be able to decide to skip that day and receive the notes from a friend.
Do: Show interest
In addition to the work you're assigned, don't be afraid to seek out additional assignments. Is there a specific area within the business that you are interested in? Ask to sit in on meetings with individuals in that role or shadow them for a day. Internships are all about being exposed to the work done, while also giving you a taste of everyday roles.
Don't: Sit back and wait for work to come to you
Sometimes supervisors and bosses may get caught up with their own assignments and deadlines. If you don't have anything to work on, do not be scared to ask how you can help. Ask if there is a long term assignment that would be beneficial to your boss. You'll always be able to turn to that if you find your self unsure of what to do next.
Take advantage of meeting as many individuals within the office and industry as possible. Don't be too nervous to attend an event, if invited. Use the opportunities provided to introduce yourself and express your interests. Feel free to follow up with a LinkedIn invitation, politely reminding them of your interaction.
Don't: Act negatively
Whether you're given an assignment that you are less than excited about, or you receive feedback on something that was not your best, act professional. Know that within every position, there will be assignments and duties that may not be glamorous or at the top of your list. However, a successful business is run by these tasks getting done. If you receive criticism, turn it into a learning experience. Ask what may have been a better alternative, or how you can improve.
Do: End on a good note
Before you leave your internship position, make sure to have the proper contact information. Your boss may act as a future job recommendation or open doors to future positions. Make sure to thank all those that you have interacted with for the experience and reinforce what you have learned.