10 Tips on Internship Success
- Exhibit a Can-Do Attitude
Attitude speaks loud and clear and makes a lasting impression, so make sure that yours is one of your greatest assets. Take on any task assigned—no matter how small—with enthusiasm. Take the initiative to acquire new skills. Accept criticism graciously and maintain a sense of humor.
- Learn the Unwritten Rules
Get to know your co-workers early in your internship. They will help you figure out quickly the culture in which you will be working. You will need to adapt, observe, learn, and process a large volume of information. Watch closely how things get done, ask questions, and pay attention to how people interact with each other.
- Take Your Assignments Seriously
Build a reputation for being dependable, diligent, and accurate. You may encounter a great deal of ambiguity in the work environment, so ask questions and seek direction when in doubt and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Learn from your errors and move on to your next task. From there, your responsibilities and the expectations of others are likely to grow.
- Meet Deadlines
Always assume the responsibility to ask when an assignment is due. This will help you understand your supervisor’s priorities and manage your time accordingly. Alert your boss in advance if you will be unable to meet expectations. This shows respect and professional maturity.
- Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Establish correlations between your learning goals and the daily work you are asked to perform; maintain a journal of your activities and accomplishments in order to monitor your progress; request regular reviews from your supervisor to assess your performance. Reinforce the fact that you mean business.
- Communicate Respectfully
Assume that everyone else knows more than you do. However, don’t be afraid to present useful ideas that may save time or money or solve problems. Just make sure that your style does not come across as "cocky." Employers value assertiveness but not aggressiveness. Find out the proper way to address individuals, including customers, and maintain a pleasant, respectful demeanor with every person, regardless of his or her rank.
- Be Flexible
Accept a wide variety of tasks, even those that may not relate directly to your assignments or those that may seem like grunt work. Your willingness to go the extra mile, especially during “crunch time,” will pave the way to assuming greater responsibilities.
- Be a Team Player
Learn how your assignment fits into the grand scheme of things and keep a keen eye on getting the job done. In today’s work environment, success is often defined as your ability to get along and interact with others. You’re a winner only if your team wins.
- Find a Mentor
Identify at least one individual to serve as your mentor or professional guardian. It should be someone who is willing to take a personal interest in your career development and success. Begin to network wisely, and get “plugged in” by associating with seasoned employees who may share their knowledge, perspectives, and insights. Get noticed—many more people will have a role in determining your future than you might realize.
- Have fun!
Also check out our Tips For Success video!