How to Make the Most of Your Internship

By Lauren Charbonneau, Chapter Member

Internships can be overwhelming, but they can also be one of the best experiences you have throughout your college career. That is if you allow it to be.

While it can be exciting to step out of the classroom and see the real-life version of the things you’ve been learning; it’s also a great way to gain a reference to use when applying for a job after graduation. Here are five tips for making a favorable impression:

Be on time. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way. The first time I met with my supervisors, to discuss my performance, they made a point of saying how much they appreciate that I show up on time.

Treat others as you would like to be treated. It makes me feel good when people smile at me, call me by my first name, or offer to help me when it looks like I’m having difficulty. Therefore, I go out of my way to do the same for others, whether I work with them directly or not. So don’t be shy- look happy, introduce yourself to people, and help someone refill the water cooler or figure out how to work the copy machine if it looks like they’re struggling. If you’re stepping out to grab a coffee, offer to pick one up for someone else. This will make people more inclined to take the time to help you when you need it.

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Ask questions, even if you think they’re stupid. Recently I got confused about whether a particular press release should be written in second or third person. As embarrassing as it was for me to ask my supervisor, I sucked it up and did it anyway. It’s much better to ask what seems like a silly question so that you can get the job done right the first time.

Find an organizational system and use it. By doing this early on you can stay on top of what needs to be done, which saves people the time of having to remind you. I keep a running to-do list saved as a Word document on my computer. I color-code it to keep track of which things need to be done and which things I’ve already completed. If a paper and pen to-do list is more your style, make use of it. If you feel more comfortable with electronics, search out a smartphone app; handy ones include Listmaster for Android and iProcrastinate for the iPhone.

Ask for feedback. People like to see that you want to do the best job you can. When I met with my supervisors one of them commented that I could be doing a more thorough job with research. Since then, I’ve stepped it up and it’s been appreciated.


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