Tips for a Successful Internship

You’ve researched college internships, interviewed and landed a spot in a workplace that interests you: now what? You shine, that’s what. Put your confident self forward and bury any fears you may have of making a mistake. As an intern, your tasks likely won’t be at the level where a mistake could have significant consequences anyway. Simply ask enough questions to be clear on what’s expected of you and rest assured that you’ll do a fine job. Here are a few other tips for standing out as an intern:

1. Take your cues from the people you see around you. The first day of your internship will set the tone for the remainder of your time there. Look around and see how people interact with each other and get a feel for the corporate culture. If it’s a laid back environment and people are pretty comfortable with each other, feel free to do the same. If formality and business-like behavior is the norm, rise to the occasion perform your duties in a similar manner.

2. Remember the manners your mama taught you. Common courtesies never go out of style. Show respect to everyone around you and it won’t go unnoticed. The janitor, doorman, receptionist and CEO all appreciate a warm greeting and a pleasant demeanor.

3. No task is too small for an intern. Granted you’re not majoring in barista science on campus but if you’re asked to make coffee for a meeting; do it. Making a stack of collated presentation booklets may seem menial, but take a moment to look over the material while you’re at the copier. You can learn a lot about business by being the person who makes copies. Interns are brought on board to help out in a myriad of ways, so keep a ‘can do’ attitude at all times.

4. As the internship draws to an end, take what you’ve learned and consider whether or not you’d like to come back for a paid position after graduation. If so, don’t be afraid to let it be known that you are interested. If they liked what they saw in you, they might be willing to wait for you to complete your college education.

Once you’re back on campus (or at home if you go to an online college), be sure to send a thank-you note to your direct supervisor. If there was anyone else who was especially helpful to you during your internship, send them something as well. You can use these people as references later when you are looking for a job, so keep in touch as time passes by.

Julie Clark Robinson is a prolific writer. Her many subjects include Arizona colleges and Delaware colleges which meet students’ full financial need.

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